Mysterious, Jun 2001, 23.95, 320 pp.
Nearly eighty, retired private detective William Riskin goes to the nearby off track betting parlor to sweep the floor, read a throwaway newspaper, and place a bet or two. As he reads the obituaries, he finds the name of his former partner Jean Golblum. Jean, a war hero and concentration camp survivor, William, and Santini formed the Three Eyes Detective Agency in which they backed each other up and finished all cases. William has never forgotten that Jean assigned him to watch a cheating wife. However, the spouse was William's wife doing it with Santini. Though the agency stayed together, it was never the same.
William attends the funeral in which only the deceased's landlord arrives. William receives some junk from the landlord and soon realizes that his former partner was on a final case that he never completed. Honor makes William continue the investigation, but as he follows Jean's list of names with addresses, none match up except an obscure post card. Though seemingly futile, William continues to dig deeper and begins learning things he does not want to know about.
EPITAPH is a unique and entertaining investigative story in which the lead character struggles with his mental faculties to concentrate on the case. William makes the story because he is handicapped by his aging body and mind, but he keeps plugging away. Though the use of flashbacks proves bewildering and makes the story line difficult to follow at times, James Siegel has written an intriguing tale that hopefully is the start of more inquiries by William.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner