From the book jacket:
At the annual convention of the American
everything goes wrong. Julia Child's cooking
demonstration in the Random House aisle
blows up and catches fire. A top New York
editor catches a pie in the face.
Invitations to the most exclusive
publisher's party are stolen and all the
wrong people show up. Worse, Heidi Yamada,
the world-famous poet, is found dead, spread
over the late Elvis Presley's king-sized
Comment: John Daniel sets his first "Guy Mallon" mystery at the real-life 1990 American Booksellers Association (ABA) convention in Las Vegas. His protagonist, Guy, is a book collector (Post-World War II Poets of the American West), a bookseller, and a small-press publisher. He also has a nose for mystery - a nose that senses that all is not above board when the manipulative poet, Heidi Yamada is found dead from what the police conclude is an accidental overdose.
Before her death Heidi was feted by all and sundry, but barely has the corpse been tidied up than the backstabbing begins, cumulating in the eulogies given by her publishing nearest and dearest, who reveal the real Heidi - and in the process both provide essential clues for Guy, and add themselves to his ever lengthening suspect list.
This delightfully sharp and sardonic send up of the book trade is a shoe-in for bibliophiles who are also aficionados of cozy mysteries.
John M. Daniel is a small-press literary book publisher in McKinleyville, California. He has taught fiction writing at UCLA Extension and Santa Barbara Adult Education and is on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, and he is the author of several books, including Play Melancholy Baby and Generous Helpings, a story collection.
Poisoned Pen Press published the second of his Guy Mallon mysteries, Vanity Fire, last month. He is currently at work on a third, Behind the Redwood Curtain.
This review was originally published in July 2005, and has been updated for the October 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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