cover image Schemers: A Nameless Detective Novel

Schemers: A Nameless Detective Novel

Bill Pronzini, . . Forge, $24.95 (302pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1819-0

In MWA Grand Master Pronzini's 34th Nameless Detective novel (after 2008's Fever ), his series sleuth takes on a challenging locked-room puzzle. When Gregory Pollexfen, a wealthy bibliophile, reports the theft of eight rare first edition mysteries from his collection, which he keeps in a secured room in his San Francisco home, Nameless investigates on behalf of the insurance company involved. The subsequent shooting death of the victim's ne'er-do-well brother-in-law in the locked library complicates the original case, though Pollexfen's wife, who was also in the sealed room and whose prints are on the weapon, is the obvious suspect. Meanwhile, a subplot in which Nameless's colleague, Jake Runyon, attempts to track down a stalker targeting a Los Angeles couple is notable only for Runyon's slow emergence from the emotional shell he developed after his wife's death. Since the two story lines aren't obviously compatible, readers may wonder why Pronzini decided to combine them. (Apr.)