October 18, 1993 12:00 PM

by Gregory McDonald

McDonald won two Edgar awards and launched two movies (starring Chevy Chase) with his wisecracking reporter turned snoop Irwin Fletcher. The same snarly sense of humor livens his illegitimate offspring, who comes out of the woods to recruit his father in a crusade against racist zealots. If a little preachy and self-important, the writing is lively, graceful and sly. (Putnam, $19.95)

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