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The Man in the White Linen Suit: Stewart Hoag #11    by David Handler order for
Man in the White Linen Suit
by David Handler
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2019 (2019)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Man in the White Linen Suit is the eleventh in David Handler's historical mystery series starring ghostwriter-sleuth Stewart Hoag in 1990's New York City. Hoag is usually accompanied by his basset hound, Lulu.

Ghostwriting celebrity memoirs is a long step down from being hailed by the NY Times as 'the first major new literary voice of the 1980s' ten years before. After that brilliant first novel, Hoagy had lost his voice and his wife Merilee (a celebrated actress), but has just completed three chapters of a new book his agent Alberta considers thrilling.

As the story opens, Alberta has asked him to meet with her and Sylvia James, 'the single most reviled woman in all of publishing.' She's still on the job because she's also the chosen editor of her father, elderly literary giant Addison James, 'the wealthiest author in America', once dubbed 'The Man in the White Linen Suit' by Life magazine.

Sylvia discloses the fact that Hoagy's friend Tommy O'Brien was the real author of Addison's last two bestsellers, and has just completed the manuscript of a new one. Sylvia had promised him coauthor credit and a percentage of royalties, then reneged. Now, Tommy has apparently absconded with the manuscript. Sylvia wants Hoagy to act as go-between.

He reluctantly agrees and is soon embroiled, not only in the search for a missing manuscript, but in multiple murders. Hoagy works with NYPD Lieutenant Romaine Very. Along the way, he learns of a kinder side to the reviled Sylvia James, and draws closer again to his ex-wife Merilee.

The mystery is witty and entertaining and is enriched by Hoagy's relationship with Lulu, of whom he says, 'Lulu has a mighty menacing growl for someone who was once beaten to a pulp in Riverside Park by a Pomeranian named Mr. Puff Ball.' Don't miss this popular and engaging series.

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