On the trail of summer's hottest mysteriesOnly a rare writer manages to craft a flourishing ongoing detective series; rarer still is the writer who manages to create more than one (Lawrence Block jumps to mind with his Burglar and Matt Scudder series). Gregory McDonald is now on his fourth(!) successful series (Fletch, Son of Fletch, Skylar and Flynn), with no end in sight. His latest, Flynn's World, finds the international secret agent deep undercover, on loan to the Boston police department as an "inspector," a made-up rank that allows Flynn a good deal of latitude in his choice of cases. His global nemeses think he is dead, and that suits Flynn fine. It gives him the time he needs to spend with his wife and five children, and to hold forth on all subjects Irish (which is fairly amusing in itself, since Flynn has a multi-national heritage commencing somewhere in the neighborhood of Basra, Iraq). This time out, Flynn investigates the character assassination and harassment of an elderly Harvard professor and the sometimes murderous rivalries of those on the tenure track. Flynn, like Fletch before him, is a multi-dimensional character, witty and observant. Regarding his education, he lays claim to a short term at a seminary, which he left because he "suspected that certainty stunts growth." It has been almost two decades since the last Flynn novel; I hope we don't have to wait nearly so long for the next.
Nashville-based writer Bruce Tierney is a lifelong mystery reader who was weaned on the Hardy Boys.