November 27, 1978 12:00 PM

by Tom Topor

A New York private eye is hired by an aging movie star who talks very much like Bette Davis: “.These days, anybody can be a star. Read the newspapers sometime: trashy people doing trashy things in front of other trashy people.” She might be describing this richly written, ugly tale about the city’s pimps, blackmailers, drug dealers and other unsavory types Topor bumped into as a New York Post reporter. If the conclusion isn’t exactly neatly packaged, it smacks of a kind of terrible truth. It demonstrates that a talented writer can opt to do a traditional kind of whodunit without condescending to the genre. (Norton, $9.95)

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