the Characters ||
the Author ||
the Critics Would Have Said
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This is a satirical murder mystery set in a large Chicago law firm. One of the top partners is murdered in the middle of the night. A lawyer murdered? Who cares! Well, his partners are worried about their reputation and our hero, Bumper Lohman, the managing partner, is told by the other partners to find out who did it and put the bad PR to rest. Bumper is a blandini to the extent that anyone ever took notice of him to begin with, but the rest of the characters are berserk. Fun is made of snobs, lawyers, their clients, politicians, the law, the young, the old, the gay and everyone and everything else.
The firm is Fenton, Pettigrew and Cohenstein. This was formed by a merger of lucrative convenience between and old line waspy social register firm and a rapidly expanding firm headed by an exempt character named Zenon Cohenstein. Exempt from social registration. He and Graybourne St. Charles run the firm.
Ellis Kirkland, one of the top partners, is the one found dead one morning in the north suburban office of the firm. Apparently he was hit over the head by a bust of CaCaPoo, chief of the Kickapoos, and then stabbed with a ceremonial dagger kept in the office. The name of Fenton, Pettigrew must not be besmirched. The culprit must be identified and be brought to justice.
This office is locked at night and no one can get in without using their assigned code or having the door opened for them from the inside. Kirkland, a young lawyer named Sean Featherbottom, and the cleaning crew were there the night before. Then everyone except Kirkland left. Kirkland was there alone using the phone. Sean's code was used to get in and Kirkland was conked. The firm's computer records all phone calls and uses of codes on the door.
Sean says he had gone home. Another young lawyer named Tamobola Cook, who is stalking Sean, says she saw him go into a gay bar in Chicago about the time of the murder with a gay file clerk who works at the firm. Both deny it. She happens to have got Sean's code out of him by ruse some time earlier and had threatened to fix Kirkland.
Lohman looks into clues, leads and suspicious characters until the time of the firm's annual party. This is a huge event taking up all of a large hotel's public rooms. All the firm people, clients, potential clients, their contacts, politicians and assorted prominent parties are there. The police bust in to arrest Sean and Lohman takes over to calm things down. He assembles everyone of interest and reviews all the facts and all the likely culprits. There are quite a few since no one liked the victim. Lohman nails the guilty party and the cops take the party away.
Along the way we tour through Chicago and see how its upper crust works - or doesn't.
- Bumper Lohman, managing partner. Bumpy. Our hero.
- Gloria Lohman. Glor. His wife. Housewife.
- Louie. Lohman's great dane. Friendly.
- Tina Goblat. Tete. Lohman's secretary. She'd make a good linebacker.
- Fenton, Pettigrew & Cohenstein, formerly Fenton, Pettigrew, Sidley and Lord. Where nothing like this could happen.
- Greybourne St. Charles. Chairman. The Saint. Charlie. Graybee. Grabby to his partners. Better than you and everyone else. Was going to see Kirkland that night. Has one of Kirkland's letter openers in his office. Has an alibi, but won't use it. Big time gambling at the Pullman Club.
- Swifton Corporation. The big client.
- Arthur Swifton. Head of the company. Swifty. Arty. One of the gamblers at the Pullman Club. Won't admit it.
- Jean Bean. Secretary who found Kirkland's body.
- George Pelton. Client CFO. Doesn't like the dead guy.
- College Club. Lohman's club.
- Pullman Club. St. Charles' club.
- Zenon Cohenstein. Upstart head of the firm that Fenton, Pettigrew merged with. Not respectable.
- John Sweeney. Upcoming young associate with a lot of lucrative clients. Uninhibited and, like, spontaneous, Dude. Oh wow!
- Lottie. Sweeney's secretary and a little more.
- Ellis Kirkland. Victim. Equity partner. No one likes him. Not many liked by him either, except those of suitable rank and background. Waiting to hear from his client Gordon Weinstein when he was killed.
- Jason Kunz. Gay clerk. Object of anonymous sexual harassment complaint. Can't see why he can't stick it in anything and everything around the firm just like everyone else.
- Detective O'Malley. He and Sgt. Fricknoodleh show up once in a while and give us facts. Finally they decide to arrest Sean Featherbottom.
- Sgt. Fricknoodleh. With O'Malley, Pricknoodle and the Mick dick so far as Cohenstein is concerned.
- Victor Stone. Client who wants to patent a customer service system that will get rid of the customer. Drove by the office where Kirkland was killed about the time of the murder. Noticed a Ford Crown Victoria parked outside with Kirkland's car.
- Jack Sprack. IP partner. Convinced he is a great lawyer. Kirkland took his big client.
- Hodie Patel. Client who dislikes Kirkland because Kirkland turned over some of his documents that got him in trouble. On the phone with Kirkland the night of the murder.
- Qwen Lohfahrt. Client with offshore interests who knows Weinstein. Lent big money to Kirkland. Threatened him.
- Gunnar Pekka. Lohfahrt's accountant.
- Egon Fitzhubery. Second level partner under Kirkland. Claims noble ancestry. One of the few Kirkland likes. Snobby little toad. Claims he was at the opera the night of the murder.
- Felia Fitzhubery. His wife. A drunk. Can't remember who was where when.
- Gordon Weinstein. Client Kirkland is waiting to hear from before going ahead with a major project.
- Clayton Fenger. Client at the opera with Egon, supposedly on the night of the murder. A little senile. Which night?
- Joan Fenger. Clayton's wife. Clayton calls her Shirley. A bit looped herself.
- Monica Platt. Lawyer who gossip romantically links to Lohman. Not a word of it is true. Friends with Gloria Lohman.
- Biff McCain. Biffster. Client who missed Kirkland at an event. One of the gamblers at the Pullman Club who also won't fess up to it.
- Tammy Fine. Lesbian lawyer at another firm who dates Sean Featherbottom.
- Tambola Cook. Associate. A little weird. Miss Leftwitch. Wants to go to the Meditation Institute in Karachi. Got mad at Kirkland because he wouldn't let her go and said she was going to fix him. She had Sean's code to get in. She stalks Sean. She claims she saw him going into a gay bar with Jason Kunz at about the time of the murder. So she was there?
- Sean Featherbottom. Associate who is the object of Cook's attention. Denies he was at the gay bar with Jason. Has one of Kirkland's tea cups in his office. Kirkland thinks he is of unacceptably low background. Cohenstein calls him Fluffbottom.
- Lady Fitch-Bennington. A client. Elizabeth. Pansy. Has a dyslectic butler who calls her Lady Bitch. Tells us St. Charles was going to see Kirkland that night.
- Johnny Miller. Friend of lady Fitch-Bennington. Boy toy.
- Gordon Winkleman. Purchasing director for the State of Illinois. Has the same type of Ford seen in the parking lot when and where Kirkland was killed. Earlier was with the firm's governmental affairs partner. Both deny it.
- Bungus LaRue. The firm's governmental affairs partner. Former congressman. Lobbyist. Fixer. Has a client who is trying to sell things to the State.
- Trina LaRue. His wife. Friends with Gloria Lohman.
- Herman Schlot. General counsel of ECOTAG - Evangelical Congregation Of The Angel Gabriel. They got bucks so he is golfable.
- Gilbert Crane. Associate who sees the Ford outside LaRue's home that night.
- Winter Goren. Partner. Firm fruit. Tells us who is and who isn't.
- Pussy. St. Charles' cat. Sits on a pedestal behind his eminence.
- Pincus Ruhlman. Equity partner and dog owner.
- Illinois Pipe Works. Client Egon takes Tambola Cook to see. Makes her drive because he has his parents' Mercury and he doesn't want anyone to think he owns such a thing.
- Bunny Goldberg. Society and music editor at the Tribune. She fills us in on the opera and who sang on what night.
- Wiggy Rodriguez. Firm investigator. Gives us facts.
- Bigman Wallace. Friend of Lohman. On the wine tasting committee at the College Club. Tells us who was and was not there.
- Creighton Wurble. Manager of the Pullman Club. Twit.