Margaret Binton, the sprightly septuagenarian of New York's Upper West Side, is back - much to the delight of her fans. With her are her cronies and fellow sleuths, the variegated old parties who meet each day in a tiny park in the center of Broadway at 82nd Street. What's Margaret up to now? Well, for starters, she's just made a killing in the smoked salmon war. She's enrolled in a night course in legal ethics. And she's taken her habit by the throat and joined Smoke Stoppers. Now she's making careful notes on each Camel she lights up - is it a pleasure smoke or a stress smoke? Smoke Stoppers itself leads to stress when her assigned "buddy," a young writer, is murdered. "By a mugger," say Margaret's exasperated, grudgingly admiring friends at the local precinct. Margaret thinks otherwise; she had spoken to the fellow an hour before his death, and he was afraid of something. So she enlists her park-bench friends and her ethics teacher on a killer hunt. Sid, the handicapper, parlays small donations from the gang into money to finance the search. Shopping-bag lady Rose, part-time super Pancher, and the rest of the crew join in, each uniquely qualified for his or her contribution to the investigation. Together, they're the funniest and most colorful team of amateur sleuths east of the Rockies. West, too.
Used availability for Richard Barth's Deathics
March 1993 : USA Hardback
June 1993 : USA Paperback