Looking for the Aardvark

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Bruce’s half-brother, Ernie Quivada, has been murdered, and the authorities appear uninterested in locating his killer. Admittedly, Ernie was a sanctimonious, unforgiving despot who gave religion a bad name. Still, despite his considerable flaws, Bruce’s mother wants to see justice done. Therefore, Jason agrees to put his personal problems aside and investigate the death of someone he disliked to ease the pain of a person he appreciates.

Accompanied by Bruce and Grace Norman, Jason departs for Santa Fe and the scene of the crime. Jason and his friends soon realize that suspects abound, inasmuch as Ernie was the kind of person who invites abuse and hatred. As Jason would be the first to attest, however, individuals rarely kill everyone they dislike. Even then, those who might be inclined toward violence are not always presented with the occasion for mayhem.

A.J. Orde is a pseudonym for Sheri S. Tepper, and those acquainted with Tepper’s works in another genre will find much that is familiar in this series about a Denver-based interior designer and sometime sleuth. The reader will also discover some intriguing details concerning antiques and cuisine in the American Southwest. LOOKING FOR THE AARDVARK is a rather brutal work insofar as it exposes the dark side of “traditional family values.”

Those readers who question the plausibility of the plot need only read the back pages of any newspaper—metropolitan or not.