Since his recent arrival, avant-garde artist Zeno Gorgias has been turning heads and attracting gawkers in the otherwise tame college town of Farberville Arkansas. Zeno's "interactive" art-featuring an undressed woman lounging beside a coffin on his front yard-is neither welcome by the community nor punishable by law. But as local bookseller and ...Read MoreSince his recent arrival, avant-garde artist Zeno Gorgias has been turning heads and attracting gawkers in the otherwise tame college town of Farberville Arkansas. Zeno's "interactive" art-featuring an undressed woman lounging beside a coffin on his front yard-is neither welcome by the community nor punishable by law. But as local bookseller and amateur sleuth Claire Malloy is about to find out, sometimes there's a dark side to one's freedom of artistic expression ...Strange things keep happening to Zeno and his oeuvre. First, his estranged wife comes to town, demanding he be committed to a mental institution. Then Zeno's house mysteriously goes up in flames. And if that's not enough, a dead body is found inside of the infamous coffin. Now that Zeno has been arrested for murder, it's up to Claire to figure out what on earth is going on in Farberville ...while the real killer remains on the loose.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1995-05-08 The usually quite conventional life of Farberville bookstore owner Claire Malloy embraces enough zany characters and situations in her 10th adventure (following Tickled to Death) to put readers in mind of Sheriff Arly Hanks's Maggody, the domain of Hess's other mystery series. Painter Zeno Gorgias, who has recently moved to the small Arkansas town's historic neighborhood, is staging performance pieces, starring a nearly naked young woman with a rubber snake, on his front lawn. Not only are Claire's hyperbolic teenage daughter and her friend involved, but Claire's policeman lover has his hands full with crowd control. Zeno's estranged wife arrives and threatens to have him institutionalized for incompetence; she is found murdered, her body recovered from charred ashes of Zeno's house after itĉand half a million dollars' worth of his paintingsĉare burned. Suspects include the painter, his young, nubile ``star,'' a couple from a local Bible college and a neighbor trying to sell his house. Another murder complicates Claire's efforts to understand motives as, in true small-town fashion, she pokes into everyone's business and manages, through some adroit footwork, to bring a murderer to his knees. Nearing her 40th birthday in this neatly plotted tale, Claire seems slightly more sardonic than in the past, but no less energetic. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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