A journalist with a sardonic view of life takes a job as a press representative for a presidential candidate, who soon finds himself troubled by dead bodies showing up at his campaign stops. I.M. Fletcher is on hiatus from his newspaper job to serve as press man for Gov. Caxton Wheeler, a leading candidate for president of the United States. His first order of business: create some distance between the candidate and the woman who died last night after falling from the hotel roof -- directly above Wheeler's room.
Fletch chitchats with the journalists covering the campaign, trying to keep them from doing a story linking the candidate at the body. But he also starts sniffing around on his own, investigator that he is. Walsh Wheeler, the governor's son and campaign manager, is trying to keep Fletch focused on the press and maintaining the governor's good image. But the fact that Fredericka Arbuthnot has been assigned to the campaign is troubling Fletch, since she's a top crime reporter. Not troubling enough to prevent him from flirting with her when the opportunity arises.
Fletch finds out the dead girl wasn't the first body the campaign has left in its wake, just the first to raise questions. The more Fletch digs around, the more his suspicions center on Walsh, his old Army buddy and the man who brought him into the campaign in the first place. After a fight in another hotel basement, Fletch catches Walsh in the act and saves campaign reporter Betsy Ginsberg, who escapes with a broken nose and bruised cheekbone.
With his son arrested, the governor withdraws from the race and Fletch is without a job. He decides not to continue in politics, considering it a corrupt endeavor.
Best part of story, including ending:
Fletch is an entertaining character, to the point that he seems to exist in his own world, cracking wise and doing whatever he wants while everyone else is stuck playing a role they can't get out of.
Best scene in story:
Fletch and the governor have a quick exchange in the beginning as to whether Fletch was a reporter before. "The Press is the people," he says, to which the governor responds that he thought the government was the people. Interesting insight into two idealistic but very different viewpoints.
Opinion about the main character:
Fletch can be so cavalier about doing whatever he wants that it gets distracting at times, particularly when people's lives are at stake.