Matt Cobb, troubleshooter extraordinaire, must track a killer when a talk-show host goes off the air permanently In television production, “fringe time” refers to the period after the late-night news before the morning shows begin—the time when anything could happen. For Matt Cobb, a VP charged with getting “The Network” out of jams, fringe time is especially fraught, because it’s a time when one of his charges is seriously at ...
Matt Cobb, troubleshooter extraordinaire, must track a killer when a talk-show host goes off the air permanently
In television production, “fringe time” refers to the period after the late-night news before the morning shows begin—the time when anything could happen. For Matt Cobb, a VP charged with getting “The Network” out of jams, fringe time is especially fraught, because it’s a time when one of his charges is seriously at risk. Cobb has had his hands full with Richard Bentyne, a volatile wee-hours talk-show host with more than one lover and many deserved enemies. And when Bentyne’s dinner is laced with arsenic, there’s no shortage of leads to investigate, and Cobb must do it quickly, with as little exposure to the network as possible. But while a betrayed girlfriends, jealous colleagues, or crazed fans might have the motive for murder, Cobb’s gut instinct tells him that the answer lies somewhere on the fringe.
As v-p in charge of special projects at a fictional television network in New York City, Matt Cobb is used to handling delicate egos and tricky situations. In this instance, Matt, whose job security is reinforced by his romantic relationship with the network's leading shareholder, must ease the paranoia of talk-show host Richard Bentyne, who has an old lover, a new lover, a hit show and morbid delusions on a grand scale. But Bentyne's delusions prove well-founded when he is fatally poisoned just before Clement Bates, a famous, wealthy eccentric whom no one but Bentyne has seen for 35 years, is due to appear on his show. Cobb often cracks wise and is frequently very funny; the suspect pool is more than deep enough; and the solution, tying up more murder and assorted motives, manages to play fair on all counts. The fringe time of the title is apparently media-speak for the period after the late news and before the morning news and chat shows, and in DeAndrea's able hands, it's a very scary place. (Nov.)
Series protagonist Matt Cobb, a vice president for a New York-based television network, tries to control Richard Bentyne, the network's expensive new talk-show host. Bentyne's successful but offensive mix of rude, crude, and "cool" annoys some guests and co-workers. Therefore, it is not surprising when someone kills him. Because he is on the inside track at the network, Cobb investigates with the help of the NYPD's Lieutenant Martin. Recommended.
William L. DeAndrea (1952–1996) was born in Port Chester, New York. While working at the Murder Ink bookstore in New York City, he met mystery writer Jane Haddam, who became his wife. His first book, Killed in the Ratings (1978), won an Edgar Award in the best first mystery novel category. That debut launched a series centered on Matt Cobb, an executive problem-solver for a TV network who unravels murders alongside corporate foul play. DeAndrea’s other series included the Nero Wolfe–inspired Niccolo Benedetti novels, the Clifford Driscoll espionage series, and the Lobo Blacke/Quinn Booker Old West mysteries. A devoted student of the mystery genre, he also wrote a popular column for the Armchair Detective newsletter. One of his last works, the Edgar Award–winning Encyclopedia Mysteriosa (1994), is a thorough reference guide to sleuthing in books, film, radio, and TV.