|Plot Summary of Out on the Cutting Edge|
Unofficial private detective Matthew Scudder is hired to find a young woman who disappeared after coming to New York to pursue an acting career. Her parents have left messages on her answering machine that were not returned. Her father has come to New York and found she moved out of her furnished room. Oddly, she left her linens on the bed and her answering machine.
Scudder discovers that Paula Hoeldtke didn't have her phone shut off until nearly a week after she had moved out of her room. She was well liked at work, and the producers of the few plays she was able to find parts in thought well of her. But there's little to explain why she disappeared.
In a subplot, Scudder befriends Eddie Dunphy, a former small-time hoodlum he meets in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Dunphy fears the fifth step in the AA program, a confession of the wrongs he has committed.
But Eddie turns up dead, apparently the victim of a form of asphyxiation while masturbating that often goes wrong. He appears to have partially hanged himself but lost control and passed out. Scudder tries to find out what it was that Eddie wanted to tell him. He seeks out Eddie's criminal boss, the butcher Mick Ballou. After spending a long evening talking to Ballou, the butcher asks how he can get in touch with Scudder. Matt offers him one of the cards he carries with Paula's picture on one side and his name and telephone number on the other. Surprisingly, Ballou shows an interest in the picture, then tries to cover it up. Scudder realizes that there's a connection between Paula's disappearance and Eddie's death, which he concludes was not an accident or suicide.
That connection, plus his gradually increasing suspicion of Eddie's landlady, with whom Scudder has begun an affair, pulls the seemingly unconnected strands together in a way that solves both murders.
This synopsis report prepared by David Gordon
|Chapter Analysis of Out on the Cutting Edge|
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Composition of Book
descript. of violence and chases - 20%
Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives - 40%
Feelings, relationships, character bio/development - 20%
How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) - 20%
Tone of story
- suspenseful (sophisticated fear)
How difficult to spot villain?
- Difficult, but some clues given
Time/era of story:
What % of story relates directly
to the mystery, not the subplot?
Misc. Murder Plotlets
- Big focus on autopsies
Kind of investigator
- hard boiled/private eye
Kid or adult book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Any non-mystery subplot?
- feelings towards lover
Murder Mystery (killer unknown)
Is Romance a MAJOR (25%+) part of story?
- private investigator
- New York
Accounts of torture and death?
- moderately detailed references to deaths
Explicit sex in book?
What kind of sex:
- vague references
- descript. of male nudity
Unusual forms of death
Unusual form of death?
Amount of dialog
- roughly even amounts of descript and dialog
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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