Poisoned Pen Oct 2002, 24.95, 248 p.
On the Upper West Side of Broadway, there is a bar called Oscar's and the night bartender, forty-year-old Brian McNulty is familiar to the regulars who drink there every night. One night Angelina shows up, a beautiful, vibrant and enchanting young woman. She is a bit promiscuous but even when she stays in Brian's apartment, she doesn't sleep with him.
One day she comes in throwing money around saying she's got a sugar daddy. Shortly thereafter, her dead body is found with no clue who did it because there are so many known suspects, never mind the unknown ones. Brian, who is egged on by Angelina's sister Janet, decides to conduct an independent investigation because he knows that some of the people involved won't talk to the police. As the investigation progresses, another person dies and Brian almost becomes the killer's third victim.
The hero is an “everyman” sort of guy, making him appealing to both genders. For an amateur, he is a very good detective and he actually unearths some very decent clues that lead to possible suspects. Any New Yorker will realize that the story line is an actual portrayal of life in the Big Apple (at least the Manhattan borough). Beware THE SOLITARY DRINKER has much to recommend it.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner