Hired by the wife of best-selling suspense novelist Kenneth P. Winnington to discover the identify of a crank caller, Hastings moves among the habitues of the publishing world, interviewing Winnington's agent, publicist, and two editors, one of whom rewrote his first book into a best-seller before being fired. But two interviews lead directly to two murders, and before long, Hastings manages to attract the attention of someone who wants him dead as well.
Like all of the other books, this is a fast-paced tale that gives Hall plenty of room to indulge in comic dialog that can at times sounds like he's channeling Abbott and Costello. But along the way, "Suspense" also picks up an entertaining subtext that takes Winnington's flat declaration that no author can write a suspense novel told from the hero's perspective. Hall takes up the challenge, and whips up a virtuoso performance. Hastings may object to his author's interference, especially when it leaves him in a situation in which there was no way out. Parnell Hall brings off this effect with panach; it's lucky that Hastings has Hall on his side.
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