It’s a Mystery: Treasure Hunt, by John Lescroart

Treasure HuntMoonstruck

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

PI Wyatt Hunt, and his business, The Hunt Club, are on the ropes. His client list has dried up because of some unfavorable publicity, and it looks like curtains for Wyatt and his tiny staff. But they’re thrown a life preserver following the homicide of one of San Francisco’s most prominent leaders, philanthropist Dominic Como. A large reward (the eponymous treasure) has been offered for information leading to the apprehension of the killer, and The Hunt Club is hired to screen and interview the deluge of callers. Although investigating the murder is not part of the job description, Wyatt can’t resist. The prime suspect is Como’s driver, Alicia, who was the last to see him alive. Alicia’s an incredible looker, and Wyatt’s young associate, Mickey Dade, falls hard for her in spite of the circumstantial evidence piling up against her.

This is a promising plot that is hobbled by the love interest. Mickey could be an interesting character, but he takes up much of the narrative with his mooning about Alicia. Why the editor did not cut some of his protestations of love and absolute certainty about her innocence is the mystery here. Mickey makes some blatantly stupid moves to protect her, leaving Wyatt to do some fancy footwork that, incredibly, works. There’s also a ludicrous Poirot-like scene in which all the suspects are gathered together in order to expose the guilty party.

When the narrative gets around to the investigative details, this story is interesting enough, but the sheer quantity of all that other nonsense saps The Hunt Club of vitality. Not one of Lescroart’s stronger efforts.

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