Picks and Pans Review: The Case of the Murdered Mackenzie

updated 08/20/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/20/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by E.V. Cunningham

Detective Masao Masuto of the Beverly Hills police is on his way to Japan for a two-month vacation with his family. Then he learns that a wealthy engineer named Mackenzie has been electrocuted in the bathtub of his Beverly Hills home. Mackenzie's wife, a former movie star who is very beautiful, is charged with the murder, and by the time Masuto gets home, her trial is about to begin. It's obvious to Masuto that she is not guilty—she told the police at first that the man in the tub was not her husband. But the big company Mackenzie worked for and some mysterious people in Washington, D.C. want her to be tried for her husband's murder. When he takes up the case, Masuto suffers a couple of brushes with death. Cunningham (pen name of best-selling novelist Howard Fast) has concocted his most elaborate plot in this Masuto mystery. As in The Case of the Sliding Pool and The Case of the Kidnapped Angel (Mackenzie is Cunningham's sixth Masuto novel), the author has a lot of fun with this old-fashioned genre. His humble Zen cop hero has the resources to call on a giant Jewish sidekick, patience and the bravery to confront even the FBI and the CIA—if that is what it will take for him to bring the murderer to justice. (Delacorte, $11.95)

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