The Emerald Cat Killer
A Hobert Lindsey/Marvia Plum Mystery by Richard A. Lupoff
Review: Insurance investigator Hobart Lindsey is lured — some might say coerced — out of retirement to look into a dispute over the rights to a book manuscript in The Emerald Cat Killer, the eighth and subtitled as the last mystery in this series by Richard A. Lupoff.
Lindsey is perfectly happy in retirement, drawing a pension from International Surety. But then he receives a call from his old boss, Desmond Richelieu, who tells him, "You were always the go-to guy on wacko cases. I've got your file right here on my monitor. Comic books, that Duesenberg with the solid platinum engine, Julius Caesar's toy chariot. You were always the oddball. Maybe that's why you were so good at the loony cases." Lindsey politely declines any involvement in whatever Richelieu's got to offer, but then the unthinkable happens: Richelieu says "please." The case involves a disagreement over who actually wrote a noirish mystery titled The Emerald Cat Killer, that a widow claims was penned by her husband and was on his laptop, which was stolen the night he was killed, over a year ago now. But another author is claiming ownership. The murder is unsolved, the laptop never recovered, so it's a matter of he-said/she-said … unless Lindsey, working with Berkeley police detective Marvia Plum, can sort it all out — by finding the killer.
There's such a sense of comfortable familiarity between the recurring characters in The Emerald Cat Killer that new readers may feel as if they've missed something. It's been 13 years since the last Lindsey/Plum mystery was published, and though there is some effort to reacquaint everyone with each other, it's more like old friends picking up from where they last left off. The mystery plot itself, however, is what disappoints here, not so much in how it is developed but how it is delivered. The first chapter outlines what happened the night the author of The Emerald Cat Killer was killed, leading readers to think there has to be a twist somewhere along the line. But — small spoiler here — there is no twist. It is as it appears to be.
The Emerald Cat Killer is probably best suited for fans of the previous books in the series, who miss the entertaining dynamics between Lindsey and Plum, but are also looking for some measure of closure (assuming this is, indeed, the last book in the series).
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Emerald Cat Killer for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Emerald Cat Killer: Berkley, San Francisco, California
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The Emerald Cat Killer by Richard A. Lupoff — A Hobert Lindsey/Marvia Plum Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: August 2010
List Price: $25.99