Lickety-Split (A Truman Kicklighter Mystery)by Kathy Hogan Trocheck
The golden years of ex-AP reporter Kicklighter are at best gilded. For him, making ends meet is a full-time job: clipping coupons, eating at odds hours to avail himself of early-bird specials, engineering senior citizen discounts on everything he can. Not that his life is all work, however. When winter rolls around, life at Truman's home, the Fountain of Youth Residential Hotel, in St. Petersburg, takes on a festive air as a passel of old friends from up north arrive for the winter and the local dog track opens its gates for the season. Tragedy intrudes on this idyll, though, when Truman's best friend, Mel Wisnewski, just in from Pennsylvania, is found in the track's parking lot, huddled over the corpse of Rosie Figueroa, a tout whose dead-on betting tips have made her the darling of the dog track.
Mel has changed dramatically in the few months since he last wintered in Florida--Alzheimer's seems to have gotten the better of him--but Truman still can't believe that Mel could kill anybody, even if the police are convinced that he could and did. Truman and his young friend Jackleen Canaday, a waitress at the hotel with a soft spot for snowbirds, set out to prove Mel's innocence and find Rosie's real killer. In the course of their investigation, they come upon the computerized sure-thing betting system Rosie has helped to devise and run afoul of a spectacularly roguish cast of characters--from Wade Hardeson III, a banker's barthy, boozy son; to scheming no-account Butch Goolsby and his latter-day Li'l Abner son, Curtis; to Cookie Jeffcote, the last word in white-trash supervixens. Any of these villains would happily kill for a sure thing, especially when it's in the pocket of an easy mark like Truman.
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