David Handler frights and delights in 10th Hoagy and Lulu mystery

By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle

Best-selling author David Handler’s latest witty and wicked mystery is certain to brighten up a less than sunny summer.

Handler’s gift for believable dialog includes the best kind of humor: it grows out of the moment and is just the perfect antidote for well-timed comedy relief during these stress-filled days. 

This tenth edition of the Edgar Award-winning series, “The Man Who Couldn’t Miss,” finds crime-solvers, Hoagy and his irresistible basset hound Lulu, in a Connecticut summer theater, with an audience and cast of Hollywood and Broadway stars. It’s a compelling story that results in backstage murder, and then some.

The character of Hoagy, a Hollywood ghostwriter, has illuminated the public ups, downs and hidden lives of many famous and infamous celebrities to earn a living during a dry period. Hoagy has now found inspiration to pen a new novel while his eccentric and noisy basset hound, Lulu, snores loudly under his writing table.

They are temporarily living in guest quarters on his ex-wife’s Connecticut farm. She is the glamourous Oscar-winning actor Merilee Nash.  Hoagy also hopes to get back together with Merilee. Although life is refreshing down on the farm, how long can that last for Hoagy and Lulu? They are at their best with a snoot full of crime to solve.

The police show up at the farm to ask Hoagy the whereabouts of a ‘person of interest,’ former actor and all around bad guy, R.J. Romero. Hoagy becomes tense when he is told a startling secret about Merilee’s past. This revelation will certainly create endless havoc for her and, of course, Hoagy, as she’s busy directing a star-studded play as well as organizing a fund-raising gala to save the nearby Sherbourne Playhouse. It’s the run-down theater where Katherine Hepburn first starred in a play and hundreds of other stars appeared over the decades. To add to Merilee’s stress, all the tickets have been sold out to an A-list of entertainment celebrities and other famous folks. Her reputation, as well as the playhouse’s future, is at stake if all does not go perfectly.

The other plot conflict involves the play’s cast of Merilee’s three equally famous Oscar-winning classmates from the Yale School of Drama. This page-turner picks up speed because it seems that they have far more links to each other aside from being Yale Drama alum – links that include the notorious person of interest. The story takes a devastating turn when one of the cast is murdered. This deadly twist puts Hoagy and Lulu stage center to deduce and sniff out the killer for a surprising, edge-of-your seat reveal just before the final curtain.

“The Man Who Couldn’t Miss” is a great read for mystery buffs, folks with a sense of humor, Broadway and regional theater goers, thespians, directors, designers, theater crews, Hollywood celebrity watchers, dog lovers, basset hound devotees, city slickers and country farmers.

This wicked and witty book will be published by William Morrow in August 2018. Meanwhile, check your local booksellers and public library for availability or go online to get it any format: Kindle, Audio CD, Hardback and Paperback editions. Highly recommended by Critics On The Aisle.