Tribeca Blues, the third installment in Jim Fusilli's critically acclaimed series featuring pro bono detective Terry Orr, is a revelation to those of us steeped in the legends of solitary sleuths and wisecracking investigators. Orr, in addition to his investigative work, is a somewhat serious single father of a rather precocious teenage girl. Once upon a time, there was a beautiful wife and an infant son as well, until they were pushed in front of an oncoming subway train by a madman. Since then, Orr has been trying, more or less successfully, to rebuild his life. The madman, however, is still at large, and finding him occupies an inordinate amount of Terry Orr's time and attention. Little does Orr realize that his ongoing investigation is about to rock his world, testing his closely held assumptions about love, marriage and outward appearances. Fusilli, a music critic for the Wall Street Journal, has quite an array of talents at hand: excellent plot and character development, a great handle on location (New York City), a fine ear for dialogue, and the mystery writer's greatest gift: the ability to truly surprise the reader.

Oh yeah, what about the coveted Tip of the Ice Pick Award for best mystery of the month? Well, the truth is, I wish I could pick one, or rather I wish I could pick just one. The simple fact is that these books are all excellent, so I can't in good conscience recommend one over the other. Take bag lunches to work, skip a movie or two, and buy all three; they're that good!

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