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    G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2001

    When romance novelist Sabrina Wright hires private detective Archie McNally to find her missing husband, it doesn't seem like much of a job. He starts a few rumors and, before you can change for dinner, the husband turns up. Archie thinks he's done a good days work and celebrates with cocktails and fine dining but his rumors have stirred up mud from the past. The last time Sabrina was in Palm Beach, she was a young thing on the prowl. What she caught was not a husband but a child. The child's wealthy father will do anything to prevent his identity to become known.

    Archie spends more time dressing, enjoying his drinks and worrying about his diet and smoking, and especially trying to make time with the women while keeping his girlfriend in the dark than he does detecting, but he manages to uncover a mysterious abundance of fathers for Sabrina's daughter. There are more than one game being played here and Archie finds himself a pawn in someone's game. That is not a role he is used to playing and he doesn't like it.

    Author Vincent Lardo (see other reviews of novels by this author) has taken Lawrence Sanders' character and breathed new life into him. As a first person narrator, Archie is clever and endearing, for the most part, despite his colorful fashion statements and his amorous exploits. Few authors are capable of taking another author's characters and making them seem alive. Lardo does so. (See more reviews of novels by Vincent Lardo).

    Archie himself seems a throwback to the 1930s both in his attitude toward women and in his social habits (think Archie Goodwin but funnier). For pure light-hearted enjoyment and a detective who would rather be caught dead than dressed wrong, Archie McNally and McNALLY'S CHANCE are winners.

    Three Stars

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