Picks and Pans Review: The Fourth Deadly Sin

UPDATED 08/12/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/12/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Lawrence Sanders

The transgression of the title is "anger," but knowing that isn't going to help solve the murder. A New York psychiatrist named Simon Ellerbee stays late at his office one Friday night, and his head is bashed in by a hammer. Baffled, the authorities call on a retired detective named Delaney, who suffers from the deadly sin of gluttony—he eats juicy sandwiches while standing over a sink so they can drip. Delaney gets a list of six possibly violent patients from the doctor's wife. His investigation is detailed, plodding and mostly boring. Delaney sees the case as "a watercolor. Most homicides were oils," he decides, "great, bold slashings of pigment laid on with a wide brush or palette knife." Sanders' prose is loaded with such pretentious claptrap. That Sanders has enough fans to make his novels best-sellers is a far bigger mystery than who killed Dr. Ellerbee. (Putnam, $17.95)

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