MICHAEL BOWEN – Corruptly Procured. Richard Michaelson #3. St. Martin’s, hardcover, 1994. No paperback edition.

   Bowen has another three-book series going about a married couple, plus at least one other book, but the Michaelson books are the only ones I’ve read. None have appeared in paperback, as far as I know, which is a shame.

   Richard Michaelson is a retired Foreign Service man in his early sixties, hoping for an appointment someday to a top policy post at State but so far disappointed. He is approached by a man who once worked for him, now a top DC lawyer, to do some consulting work for which he seems ill-suited, a a price which seems high.

   Puzzled, but not enough so to overcome his lack of interest, he refuses. The offer is made at a gathering at a branch of the Library of Congress, and shortly thereafter a bomb explodes, injuring Richard and masking the theft of a priceless Gutenberg Bible. While he is in the hospital a high-ranking Treasury official urges him to accept the consulting job, for reasons left shadowy.

   A hitherto unremarkable German activist group claims credit for the bombing and theft, and vows more. Can it all be connected? Well, of course it can, silly.

   I like the Michaelson books. If Bowen doesn’t know his way around the Capital and its machinations and flora and fauna, he fakes it well. He tells his story form multiple viewpoints — though Michaelson’s is by far predominant — and keeps it moving in a reltively straight but very complex line.

   This one was perhaps a little more complex than usual, and a trifle more melodramatic, but still enjoyable. Michaelson and his bookstore-ownng lady Miranda [Marjorie?] are amiable characters, and I look forward to seeing them again.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #13, June 1994.

      The Richard Michaelson series —

1. Washington Deceased (1990)

2. Faithfully Executed (1992)
3. Corruptly Procured (1994)
4. Worst Case Scenario (1996)
5. Collateral Damage (1999)

   The husband-and-wife series that Barry referred to in his first paragraph must be the Thomas Curry and Sandrine Cadette Curry books, of which there were three (1989-1993). He also wrote five books about Rep and Melissa Pennyworth between 2001 and 2009, and one book (so far) about Josie Kendall (2016). These plus three apparent standalones constitute quite a substantial mystery writing career.