By People Staff
September 23, 1996 12:00 PM

by Ed McBain

Florida defense attorney Matthew Hope seems to have a sunny, sandy and funny case. His client, sexy toy designer Elaine Commins, is suing her former employer Brett Toland for stealing her idea: a cross-eyed teddy bear, whose ocular problem is corrected by magic glasses. (The name comes from a play on a line from a popular hymn: “gladly the cross I’ll bear.”) When Toland is murdered, the cops arrest Commins, and the lawyer finds himself in a tangle of sexual and emotional kudzu as he struggles toward the awkward truth.

With his wide shelf of the the ever-popular Hope and 87th Precinct books, the masterful McBain (novelist Evan Hunter’s nom de crime) could easily coast down fictional waterways, but he invests Gladly throughout with enough snap, sizzle—and heart—to make it one of his best. (Warner, $23)