While viewing the AIDS quilt in Washington, D.C., series private investigator Donald Strachey (e.g., Chain of Fools, St. Martin's, 1996), lover Timothy, and friend Maynard discover a square memorializing someone they know is not even sick. In short order, two people vandalize that square; a letter arrives from the "dead" man in Mexico, warning that his life is in danger; and someone shoots Maynard. As Donald investigates, he runs a standard obstacle course of political scandal and police bigotry. Although suffering from occasionally stiff prose and an overdone character or two, this title should appeal to series fans and others.
No doubt it's an honor to have your square included in the AIDS Memorial Quilt, but one Maynard Sudbury thinks it's a little premature in the case of his long-ago lover Jim Suter ("1956-1996"), who isn't dead yet, or even HIV-positive. And Maynard's friend Donald Strachey (Chain of Fools, 1996, etc.) can't help wondering about the import of one design element in Jim's squareseveral pages of Jim's old campaign bio of right-wing Pennsylvania Congresswoman Betty Krumfutz, especially when Krumfutz is spotted surreptitiously ripping the pages from the square, and Maynard, a foreign correspondent who's survived Hanoi and Beirut, is shot outside his D.C. apartment later that day. Who could've been in such a hurry to bury Jim Suter? Strachey and his lover Timmy Callahan take a closer look at the background of this marvelously unprincipled writer-for-hire and discover any number of people, sporting a nicely variegated bunch of motives, who'd lift a cheerful glass to his passing. In fact, the main mystery here, given the number of corpses past and futureStevenson is still spinning out complications as the final curtain's descendingmay be why Jim Suter hasn't died yet. Solid, satisfyingly paranoid plotting, marred only by its tendency to save the juiciest secrets for the very last act.
"A gripping, fast-paced mystery." --Booklist on Strachey's Folly
"Stevenson takes a familiar whodunit formula and imbues it with new life. The action is lively and the plotting honest and non-explotative." --Chicago Tribune on Third Man Out
"Stevenson makes his way deftly though Chain of Fools, with a strong sense of plot and a good ear for diialogue." --The Boston Globe
"Richard Stevenson's mysteries are among the wittiest and most politically motivated around today." --The Washington Post
"A lively book. Skillful plotting carries the reader straight along. Highly recommended." --The New York Times Book Review on On the Other Hand, Death
"Literate...skillfully plotted...Stevenson keeps the action on an even keel and the characters believable. Throughout it all the author imbues his characters with a keen sense of humor."
--Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel on Chain of Fools