King of the Holly Hop
Gray & Company, Jun 2008, $24.95
Cleveland based private investigator Milan Jacovich wonders where the time went since he graduated from St. Clair High School; as he attends the fortieth reunion gala. As he muses over who attended that he never would have bet on coming and who did not that he would have considered a sure shot to attend, a heated loud argument breaks out between cardiologist Dr. Phil Kohn and playwright Tommy Wiggins ending with the latter tossing his drink into the former’s face.
Not long after that Kohn is found murdered; shot in the parking lot. For obvious reasons, police Sergeant Matusen assumes Wiggins to be a person of interest. Wiggins hires attorney Ben Magruder, wife of classmate Danielle, to defend him; both attended the reunion, but left before the brawl. Magruder hires Jacovich to investigate though he understands the sleuth like anyone at the gala including the lawyer is also a suspect. Milan begins interviewing his classmates with many attendees having strong motives to kill Kohn, still universally considered a “snotnose” four decades since they graduated.
Though lacking the twists and spins that the Jacovich’s mysteries contain, KING OF THE HOLLY HOP is an enjoyable whodunit with a deep realistic look at Cleveland now and a nostalgic surreal look at the city in the 1960s though the distorted lens of memories. There are obviously a lot of suspects as Magruder points out when he hires Jacovich that anyone at the gala could be the killer. Although the investigation is not the strongest, fans of the series will enjoy this entry as the audience meets people from the sleuth’s teen years and through their recollections see another side of the hero.