Rosemary Dew, Author, Pat Pape, Author . Carroll & Graf $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1491-9

The pseudonymous Cray obviously wants to be better known—and paid. This is his fifth attempt at starting a new series (after 2004's Partners ) and it might just be the one that catches on. There are welcome, wry overtones of such classic high society detectives as Philo Vance and Nick and Nora Charles in Cray's leading character, Philip Beckett, scion of a wealthy New York family who went through Harvard and Wharton before deciding not to take over his father's industrial empire. Now he augments his smallish trust fund with sporadic earnings as a private investigator. His real passion—Chinese antiquities carved from jade—occasionally forces Philip to take cases he would otherwise refuse. That's why he reluctantly agrees to help clear a gambling debt run up by his cousin's husband, a fortune-hunting Italian count. When the count turns up dead, Philip and several other members of the Beckett clan become suspects in his murder. Although there's something of a time warp between what we know of life in today's New York and Beckett's modus vivendi, as well as the occasional need to suspend credibility as the PI gets down to the nittier gritties of the case, Cray brings a considerable amount of wit and nostalgia to his tribute to a sophisticated subgenre many of us thought was dead and buried. (Feb. 8)

Reviewed on: 01/03/2005
Release date: 12/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-7867-1278-6
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