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Picks and Pans Review: An Ad for Murder

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by John Penn

A stuffy but likable retired British Army officer, Maj. Thomas Cheryl, finds in the literary review pages of his newspaper an ad that says: “Coming Soon—the Death of Major Cheryl.” He suffers a couple of suspicious accidents. Then his wife opens a package that arrives when he’s away in London, and she’s blown to bits. There are several suspects in this not quite conventional mystery novel. The major himself is the most likely. There is also a romance between the man from Scotland Yard, a widower, and the major’s pretty daughter. So this book has everything—including an almost logical conclusion. This is the first mystery novel by John Penn (the pseudonym of a political scientist who lives on the island of Jersey), and he’s off to a most satisfying start. (Scribner’s, $11.95)