Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The fifth comic Stan Kraychik mystery (after Mask for a Diva, 1994) finds the gay hairdresser in Key West after the death of his lover, Rafik, in a misadventure with a UPS truck in Paris. Supplied with insurance money and a $3 million settlement from UPS, Kraychik is rolling in dough. Ordered out of his accommodations barely 24 hours after his arrival there, he finds his homophobic landlady, Augusta Willits, dead with an alarm clock stuffed into her mouthand a painting missing from the lobby. Since the old woman was contesting the will of her son, Peter, who promised his property to his friends just before he died of AIDS, there are a lot of people on the island who think her death is their ticket to their dreams: a gallery for a painter; a new career for a lounge singer; a travel agency for an unhappily married woman; and a theater for a "soap star manqu" and a famous writer hungry for Hollywood. Invited to report back to the local cops daily, Kraychik blithely probes the nightlife of Key West, becoming a special friend of a gay hustler, Ross; attending a private orgy; dodging a pink cab that's stalking him; and going head-to-head with a lawyer named Nancy L. Drew, who hangs out with Adolf Dobermann, a German businessman. After reversals in his life every bit as startling as those in his amateur murder investigation, Kraychik tracks his suspect to a hurricane-tossed tourist boat and finally sorts out the details of a breezy whodunit. (Aug.)
Stan Kraychik, last seen in Mask for Diva (LJ 10/1/94), visits Key West for a rest after the death of his lover. He discovers the hateful manager of his guest house dead behind the counter, an alarm clock crammed down her throat. Thus begins another entertaining haywire adventure for the sleuthing Boston hairdresser.
Stan Kraychik (Mask for a Diva, 1994, etc.) arrives in Key West alonehe's mourning the death of his lover under the wheels of a Parisian UPS truckbut everybody on the island seems to know he's gay. Nobody deals with that knowledge in a less classy way than his landlady, Augusta Willits, who orders him out of the Crow's Nest; and nobody is punished more summarily for her antagonism, as Stan discovers when he returns to pick up his stuff and finds Augusta expired (an alarm clock has been stuffed into her mouth). The field is wide open, since the heir of her late son Peter's considerable properties had antagonized a lot of other people who'd expected to inherit: painter Jeri Tiker, who'd had her eye on the Echo Me Gallery; Laura Hope, who'd expected to get ownership of her Fleming Lemming travel agency; Countess Anastasia Rulalenska, who'd figured to take over the Twin Palms craft shop; author Edsel Shamb and saturnalian Ken Kimble, who'd planned to share the Gulf Coast Playhouse; and lounge singer Cozy Dinette, who'd marked out the Crow's Nest as her own. (If you think Cozy Dinette is a great name, wait till you hear what her attorney's called.)
Stan's adventures among the Friends of Peter provide reliably lightweight entertainment, though the least interesting character turns out to be the killer. One request, though: Isn't it time for a moratorium on denouements with hurricane obbligato? South Atlantic Chambers of Commerce, take note.