A madman is on the loose in the city. Alone and on the verge of psychic collapse, detective Arnold Magnuson follows clues in murder's wake--through the Chicago of society clubs and nightclubs and the city of small-time hoods and big-time Mafia, the slums smelling of machine oil and riverside tanneries and pristine lakeside villages--through subtle interrogations, split-second lies, and improvised stories, moving ever closer to a culprit who begins to feel alarmingly like himself.
The Death of the Detective is a quest novel in the tradition of Don Quixote, Moby-Dick, and Dead Souls. During his frenetic and blood-soaked odyssey, Mark Smith's detective moves through the city on highways, boulevards, side streets, and alleys. He tracks the death-maker from a mansion in Lake Forest to the underbelly of the South Side, from a glass high-rise on the Gold Coast to a run-down tavern in the northwestern suburbs, and everywhere in between. In this New York Times best seller and finalist for the 1974 National Book Award, Smith takes hold of the reader and doesn't let go until the last page of his relentless journey into the dark recesses of the American soul.