When Fred Pugsley receives a dead rattlesnake in the mail, ex-Seattle cop Thomas Black and his friend, lawyer Kathy Birchfield, are called in to investigate. But when they get there, Fred is dead, and his stunned wife sits huddled in the kitchen, clutching a tool used on racing bicycles -- the murder weapon. But the wife says she's innocent, and suddenly there are plenty of other suspects. Just as Seattle stages its own Mardi Gras, Black is getting ready for a wild blow-out of his own . . .
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Emerson's previous mysteries include the Edgar nominee Poverty Bay and other praise-winners. This one, though, seems to have been thrown together. Series hero Thomas Black, the Seattle private eye, narrates events surrounding the murder of Fred Pugsley, but the story is lumpy with excess verbiage. An executive with a lucrative computer company, Pugsley had been an associate of brilliant Eric Castle, who was fired on evidence that he molested children. Black and his friend, lawyer Kathy Birchfield, investigate Eric and others during the frantic festivities in the Northwestern city's Mardi Gras, which are dimmed by the detective's fight with an outraged bull, attacks from a villain on the Space Needle, other murders, etc. Emerson seems so enamoured of figurative speech that he uses the same likeness twice: "a grin on his face where else? wide enough to slide a 747 into."
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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