cover image Caper


Parnell Hall. Pegasus (Norton, dist.), 25 (256pp) ISBN 978-1-60598-104-8

Stanley Hastings, an endearingly inept New York City PI whose usual fare is interviewing prospective slip-and-fall clients for a negligence lawyer, gets involved in a multiple-murder case in his breezy 17th outing (after 2007’s Hitman) from Edgar-finalist Hall. Hastings accepts an assignment from Jennifer Weldon, an attractive woman who’s afraid that her 16-year-old daughter, Sharon, is working as a call girl. The investigator’s surveillance links Sharon to Congressman Jason Blake, who takes her to his Fifth Avenue apartment. Later, the pair hop a train to Philadelphia. When Hastings intervenes to rescue Sharon, he ends up an object of interest to the NYPD. The complications, including two corpses, pile up as Hastings makes one error in judgment after another. Hastings remains an appealing hero, even if the denouement doesn’t live up to the promise of the plot’s initial premise. Readers who can easily suspend disbelief will most enjoy this light whodunit. (July)