Joe Quigley
Created by Spider Robinson (1948- )

It takes real brains to look this stupid.

Smart-assed JOE QUIGLEY is a genius-level NYC private dick with a reputation for very nearly solving impossible cases. Unfortunately, his brilliant solutions are usually only 99.9% correct -- and the one detail he tends to overlook is the simple, obvious-in-retrospect puzzle piece that allows someone else to scoop the real solution and leave Joe out in the cold, looking like a moron.

It gets worse. As if it's not bad enough being only enough of a genius to continually look like an idiot, Joe is additionally saddled with a strong resemblance to a certain loopy (and now-retired) national news anchor, and a truly unfortunate "real" first name. (It's so bad that anyone who threatens to reveal it to the world has Joe's instant co-operation.)

In his only recorded case, Lady Slings The Booze, Quigley is hired to investigate some strange goings-on at a client's favourite whorehouse, a Brooklyn joint called Lady Sally's. Soon, Joe's deductive talents are put to use on a case involving kinky sex, telepathic twin hookers, a talking dog, time travelers, more kinky sex, casual nudity, teleportation, a pacifistic plot to blow up New York, the potential end of the world, and a brothel that makes the Playboy Mansion look like an Amish quilting bee.

Okay, so obviously science-fiction author Spider Robinson hasn't written a traditional P.I. novel here, nor is this a novel for the uptight or prudish. But if you're tuned into Robinson's wavelength, Lady Slings The Booze is often very funny.

As well, Robinson has some interesting and provocative thoughts on how North Americans view sex and prostitution (although he can get a little preachy in spots). Oh, and for those who are curious, this book takes place in the same wacked-out universe as Robinson's much better known Callahan's Place stories. In fact, Lady Sally is actually Mike Callahan's wife, and several of the Callahan's Place regulars turn up here in smallish roles. Also, keep an eye out for cameos by a couple of P.G. Wodehouse characters, and for the novel's several large and sincere tips of the chapeau to John D. MacDonald, Donald E. Westlake, Robert B. Parker and several other hardboiled writers of note.

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Respectfully submitted by Rudyard Kennedy.


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