September 19, 1988 12:00 PM

by LeRoy Neiman

Stop the presses! Please! Neiman has added prose—in the form of a brief, pointless mystery tale—to his paintings depicting the lifestyles of the rich and fatuous. His garish artwork, the visual equivalent of an overbearing lounge band at an Atlantic City casino, has always been bad enough. Now something has possessed him to accompany the 61 paintings in this book—most of them on the general theme of the Riviera and Grand Prix auto racing—with a story about an artist tracking down an art counterfeiter in Monte Carlo. Neiman’s prose complements his art the way gumdrops would complement a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Every few sentences he randomly drops in some French, apparently to show he is au courant enough to know a few mots in another language. This sort of thing mingles with peculiar, old-fashioned English slang—”no sweat,” “real cool”—as Neiman’s story trundles along with the suspense of a second-grade spelling test. The story’s narrator, a sports artist with a buffoonish mustache, may bear some relationship to the author, but this is a work that is beyond interpretation, not to mention repair. (Van der Marck, $39.95)

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