(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Gash’s readers have come to anticipate adventure of a high caliber, and MOONSPENDER admirably fulfills this expectation. Lovejoy, an antique dealer, becomes inextricably involved in a scheme to catch illegal “moonspenders,” who use metal-detecting instruments to strip the potentially antique-rich countryside of East Anglia, England, where valuables have apparently been buried over the years. On the way to apprehending the criminals, Lovejoy must solve several murders, make preparations for a marriage, and oversee the redecorating of a restaurant. These activities all appear to slow down his search for the moonspenders, as well as interfere with Lovejoy’s lighthearted love trysts. After one particularly humorous rendezvous, Lovejoy questions his paramour, “Did you leave a horse in my hedge?” To this she responds, “Of course. I couldn’t come in a car at this hour. People would hear.”

In addition to the nicely complex plot, peppered with much wit and humor, Gash’s characterization deserves special praise. The homosexual team of Sandy and Mel is wonderfully depicted: The juxtaposition of Sandy’s sassy flamboyance and Mel’s reticent yet overbearing presence comes alive with Gash’s imaginative and descriptive language, creating characters who leave the reader anxiously anticipating the lovers’ next appearance. Gash’s skill even makes Lovejoy’s cat come alive. Her seeming indifference to Lovejoy’s problems often makes her the perfect scapegoat for the protagonist’s frustration, a situation that produces only comic results, as when an annoyed Lovejoy rebukes the sleeping animal, “Good job we don’t leave civilization to cats.”

MOONSPENDER offers suspense, comedy, wit, and memorable characters, affording the reader superb entertainment.