A scandal-plagued author is killed in a mystery with “domestic repartee worthy of Nick and Nora Charles [and a] thoroughly entertaining cast of characters” (Publishers Weekly).
Stewart Hoag has quit ghostwriting. Living in Connecticut with his ex-wife, Hoagy works on a novel and tends to Tracy, his brand-new daughter, who’s more beautiful than anything he’s ever written and only took nine months to make. Life is peaceful, until Thor Gibbs arrives to tear it apart. An unapologetically swaggering author, Thor is past seventy but still looks like the brash young man who befriended an aging Hemingway and inspired the first of the Beat poets. Once he was Hoagy’s mentor, but now he needs his help. Thor is in the middle of a tryst with his eighteen-year-old stepdaughter, and every newspaper, lawyer, and cop in the country wants him strung up from the highest tree. He hires Hoagy to help the beautiful young woman tell their side of the story. But trouble is following the controversial couple, and death is about to visit the cottage.
Stewart "Hoagy" Hoag, the ghostwriter who often stumbles into celebrity murder (The Man Who Cancelled Himself), is trying to enjoy the quiet country life in Connecticut with ex-wife Merilee and their baby when trouble roars up on a motorcycle. It's Hoagy's old friend Thor Gibbs, a legendary author who began with the Beats and lately trades in male-backlash writing. Thor has run off with his wife's daughter, Clethra, a lovely but apparently empty-headed 18-year-old. Hoagy agrees to take them in and help Clethra write her stormy story. When Thor's body is found in a pond on Hoagy and Merilee's farm, suspicion falls on the abandoned wife, a pioneering feminist. Other suspects include Clethra's father, his gay lover, Clethra's other boyfriends and a crew of local rowdies. With help from two unlikely police allies, Hoagy finally gets face-to-face with the killer. Handler controls his material masterfully, delivering newsy verisimilitude and domestic repartee worthy of Nick and Nora Charles. Notable also is Lulu, Hoagy's possessive and intuitive basset hound, who almost steals the show from this thoroughly entertaining cast of characters.