Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Man Who Couldn't Miss by David Handler

Fans of Stewart "Hoagy" Hoag will be delighted that he's in a good place in David Handler's latest mystery, The Man Who Couldn't Miss. And, theater fans will enjoy the homage to the greats of the past because it's time to save a historic theater. "Hey, let's put on a show!"

In the summer of 1993, Hoagy is living in his ex-wife's guest cottage on her Connecticut farm, writing away. He's had writer's block for ten years, and he's finally writing something he's happy with. And, of course, he and Lulu, the basset hound, are close to Merilee.

Merilee is directing a one-night only production of Noel Coward's "Private Lives". She's brought in some of her award-winning former classmates from Yale School of Drama for a fundraiser. They hope to save and restore the dilapidated Sherbourne Playhouse, where Katherine Hepburn first performed. Hoagy says it was an "uncommonly gifted class". The former classmates all admit that Robert John Romero, R.J., was once the most gifted of all of them, "the man who couldn't miss". But, R.J. is now blackmailing others, including Merilee.

Nothing goes right before opening night, but the stars all show up, including Katherine Hepburn, to support the show. And, it's a stellar performance, until the curtain has to go down in Act II, when one of the performers is found dead. Now, Hoagy and Lily are on the case, with Hoagy's witty comments and Lulu's noise as weapons.

Fans of the series will welcome Hoagy's wit and his dapper choice in clothing. There's always a great deal of humor in these books, thanks to Hoagy. And, the grand reveal is pulled off with the assistance of the police, not by the sleuth alone.

The Man Who Couldn't Miss is definitely a period piece, featuring celebrities of the early '90s and timely connections that can't be revealed without spoiling the plot. It's Hoagy, Lulu, theater, and The Man Who Couldn't Miss.

David Handler's website is

The Man Who Couldn't Miss by David Handler. William Morrow, 2018. ISBN 9780026412850 (paperback), 256p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


SandyG265 said...

I love David Handler’s Berger and Mitry series but I tried the previous book in this series and couldn’t finish it.

Lesa said...

This one's better, Sandy, but Hoagy isn't for everyone.

Margie Bunting said...

I like both of Handler's series, and I did enjoy the last Stewart Hoag book, unlike many others, so I'm looking forward to this one.

Lesa said...

Theater, Margie! You're going to love the theater angle.