There is a body in a gazebo, and the chief suspect is not long for this world
Small-town lawyer and private detective Sam McCain is enjoying a cocktail party, dancing with a lovelier specimen than his five-foot-five-inch frame usually attracts, when the hostess confronts him with a problem the likes of which Good Housekeeping has never seen. There is a corpse in the backyard gazebo, and the party is definitely over.
The murdered girl was the twenty-year-old daughter of the town’s Cadillac dealer, a troubled young woman with a self-destructive streak. The police focus their investigation on her drag-racing boyfriend, local bad boy David Egan, whom McCain agrees to defend. When Egan dies in a freak car accident, the case seems closed. But examining the hot rod shows a cut brake line—and a motive for a killing far more complicated than good girl gone bad.
Shamus-winner Gorman's niftily titled new novel opens on a warm summer night in 1961 in Black River Falls, Iowa. Soon after a girl turns up dead at a class reunion party, her drag-racing boyfriend slams into a clay wall at 90 miles an hour. An obvious accident but then the police find his brake line had been cut. Reluctantly, McCain enters the investigation, which involves jilted girlfriends, unfaithful spouses and a clever, resourceful killer. Besides being a competent, suspenseful mystery with more than a few surprises, this fifth in the series (Save the Last Dance for Me, etc.) is a fascinating time machine, recalling the arcana of a more innocent time (sick jokes, the Maverick TV series, teenagers using the phrase "Daddy-O"). FYI:Gorman is the editor ofMystery Scene magazine.