Richard published another book with Raven House, Death in the Past, along with some distinguished stories in places like Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, but nothing has appeared in many years. He's contributed his fanzines to DAPA-Em and OWLHOOT, and he's commented on this blog, but he hasn't done much other writing that I'm aware of. And that's too bad.
Let's start with the cover of the book. As I recall, a lot of RH books got two covers, one for the book racks and one for the subscribers. I don't know which this one is, and I'm too lazy to see if I have the other one. Anyway, this one's highly appropriate because the narrator, reporter Bob Whitfield, smokes approximately 356 packs of cigarettes in the course of the book. And that's not counting what others smoke. Times have changed.
But then that's part of the charm of the novel, which takes us back to the day when newspapers mattered; when cities had two dailies, morning and afternoon; when VDTs were just coming in and newspapers were beginning to enter the computer age; when businesses had W. A. T. S. lines for long-distance calls; when the big worry of rural law enforcement was marijuana, what with meth being unheard of.
The "source" of the title is a woman who tells Whitfield that she has a big story for him. Before they can meet, she's killed. Just a robbery, people think, but since she's from a prominent family, Whitfield is assigned to write a story about her life. Sure enough, his investigation into her death leads to a sinister conspiracy, and Whitfield gets to tell us quite a bit about crime, state politics, and current affairs.
My favorite comment in the book is this one when Whitfield describes a room in his apartment: "There are bookcases on three of the four walls, holding several thousand volumes, but I refuse to call it a library. No one has a library in their home except in novels by P. G. Wodehouse and Agatha Christie, and those libraries probably wouldn't contain a single Ace Double Book."
If you see this book, grab it.
Update: Things didn't go as planned, so I'm not at the Armadillocon. But I'm chastising Richard though this post.