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Hall, Parnell.
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New York : D.I. Fine, [1989]

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Author Notes

Parnell Hall is a part-time actor, a former private detective, singer/songwriter, and full-time writer of novels and screenplays. He writes the Stanley Hastings Mystery series, the Steve Winslow courtroom drama series, and the Puzzle Lady Mystery series. He also writes under the pseudonym J. P. Hailey. He wrote the screenplay to the 1984 movie C.H.U.D.

Hall co-authored New York Times bestseller Smooth Operator with Stuart Woods.

(Bowker Author Biography) Parnell Hall has been nominated for the Edgar, the Shamus, and the Lefty Awards for his mysteries. Bantam will publish his third Puzzle Lady mystery, Puzzled to Death, in Fall 2001. He lives in New York City.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Fresh from Strangler [BKL Jl 89], the delightfully inept private eye Stanley Hastings returns, as usual strapped for money and clients and still in the semiregular employ of ambulance-chasing lawyer Richard Rosenberg. With dentist bills looming large, Stanley accepts a distasteful assignment: Marvin Nickleson needs someone to tail his wife in order to forestall a divorce. Soon "distasteful" is the least of Stanley's problems: Nickleson's "wife," who isn't really his wife after all, turns up dead in her motel room near Poughkeepsie; the murder weapon is found in the glove compartment of Stanley's car; and the local police are convinced that the private eye is the killer. After Rosenberg abandons his ambulances long enough to arrange for his friend's bail, Stanley sets out to clear himself, having little faith in the dubious skills of the Poughkeepsie cops. Hall serves up yet another highly readable mystery starring one of the most unusual private eyes to ever take on a case. --Stuart Miller

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his fifth adventure ( Detective ; Murder ; etc.) New York private eye Stanley Hastings is still working for a sleazy lawyer, who generally sends him out to take depositions from ``victims'' in accident cases. Then Stanley finally gets a real client: Marvin Nickleson isn't likable, and tailing his estranged wife Monica isn't at all appealing, but Stanley--a would-be action-writer with a wife, a small child and a big dental bill--needs the money. Surveillance is uneventful until Monica drives out of town and checks into a motel near Poughkeepsie. The next morning, she's dead--though she isn't really Monica, the real Marvin isn't Stanley's client and Stanley is the chief murder suspect. The only clues are the first three letters of a license plate and a man in a checked cap, which eventually lead the detective to a land-zoning bribery scam. The ending is a bit pallid, and Stanley talks too much, but he's an appealing character nonetheless. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

That likable accident-scene photographer and private investigator Stanley Hastings returns, inept as ever, as he tails a client's estranged wife. He follows the woman to a remote motel, falls asleep on surveillance, and wakes to find himself framed for her murder. As if that isn't enough, the murdered woman turns out to be someone else; Stanley's client duped him. With characteristic short, swift-moving sentences and low-key, wry humor ( Strangler , LJ 5/1/89; Favor , LJ 9/1/88), Hall moves his bumbling protagonist toward the truth. Continued high quality. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.