NAME GAMES by Michael Craft
A MARK MANNING MYSTERY
St. Martin's Minotaur, June 2000
The world's most famous expert on miniature furniture has been murdered and the obvious suspect has a sort of an alibi. When the investigation spreads to include a D.A.'s crusade against pornography, Mark Manning, publisher of the local newspaper and advocate of freedom of the press gets involved. Manning's involvement is increased because evidence points toward a friend--who may have had a homosexual romance with the victim. Manning is proud to be gay but wonders if he has lost his objectivity because of his sexual attractions.
Michael Craft deals explicitly with the world of pornography, murder, and gays--both in and out of the closet and this mystery may not be appropriate for younger audiences. Still, Craft weaves these story elements into an ultimately hopeful message of justice and unveiling of hypocrites.
NAME GAMES contains a number of red herrings, ranging from saintly to plain evil. Manning's job is to find the one person who puts together motive, avenue, and opportunity. None of the suspects, except Manning's friend, have all three. Craft does an excellent job developing distinctive traits for each character--some of them likable, others dispicable, yet all believable.
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