In real life Yates is a property manager named Malvin who lives in Torrance with a wife he refers to as Tyrannosaurus Rex. However, his alter-ego, the private-eye, gets to sleep with all the women he meets and solve mysteries. Another charming quality of our hero is his penchant for misquoting clichs. The book is an easy read and just quirky enough to hold the readers interest.
Too many puns and too few cons make a groaner out of the second Gil Yates caper (after The Missing Link). Most of the time, Yates is Malvin Stark, underachiever and dweeb. By day, he works for his blustery father-in-law; by night, he fantasizes about braining Dorcas (aka Tyranny Rex), his battle-ax of a wife. But here, in his other life as Yates, a discreet PI who only works on a contingency basis, he receives a call from Franklin d'Lacy, the flamboyant managing director of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Museum of Art, who asks him to recover a stolen Monet. With the promise of a cool million upon delivery of the painting to d'Lacy, Yates jets off to London and then Zurich, following the trail of a gallery owner and a notorious forger until it leads to his nemesis (and first client), arms dealer Michael Hadaad. Who's getting conned? That's the question. But the plot is really secondary to the Walter Mittyness of it all, as the narrating Yates relates every henpecked husband's fantasy of derring-do. His mangling of clichs ("fit as a cello"; "the vegetables of my labor") are charming for about 10 pages. After that, it's a matter of a reader's willingness to endure a tale that's about as credible as Snoopy's exploits in his Sopwith Camel. (Apr.)
Gil Yates, unlicensed veteran of exactly one investigation (The Missing Link, 1995, not reviewed) with a winningly malapropic way with clichés, is hired by Los Angeles director Franklin d'Lacy to recover a $16 million Monet purchased from London dealer Jacques Moran but exchanged in transit for an amateurish forgery. Gil, who won't risk his life for pistachios, accepts a contingency fee of $1 million and jets to Europe, where he discovers he's a babe in the forest among the dealers, forgers, sexy assistants, and undercover agents bent on landing him in the minestrone. Grasping at wheat when he realizes that there's been a dizzyingly complex series of switches and that his client isn't just a victim, Gil plays cops and con artists off against each other in an insouciant attempt to bring home the sausage.
Shaggy folderol with enough twists, forgeries, double- crosses, and switcheroos to make your head rotate.