cover image Stakeout


Parnell Hall. Pegasus Crime (Norton, dist.), $25 (282p) ISBN 978-1-60598-402-5

Despite 17 previous outings, Stanley Hastings still hasn’t learned much, as shown by Hall’s enjoyable 18th caper to feature the bumbling New York PI (after 2010’s Caper). Hired to tail suspected adulterer Philip Marston by his wife, Julie, Hastings manages to get himself arrested on suspicion of murder after following Philip to New Jersey and finding him shot to death in a motel room. Fortunately, he has a small support group made up of his wife, Alice; his employer, lawyer Richard Rosenberg; and NYPD Sgt. William MacAullif. The three alternate between castigating the detective for his many errors and offering advice that he typically interprets in a way that only leads him deeper into trouble. Hastings’s further mishaps include finding a second body, illegally confiscating a gun and possible murder weapon, and generally doing everything possible to tighten the noose around his neck. Hall’s always amusing wordplay complements Hastings’s Clouseau-like investigative techniques. (Jan.)