Sixteen stories deal with a grieving widower, murder, revenge, and a jealous wife
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Cosmopolitan wit and sheer inventiveness mark the novels of this British author ( Death and the Chaste Apprentice ). He also excels at the short story, as demonstrated in this first collection of 15 tales that serve up grisly fun as well as sobering tragedy. In the title story, Davina, a sweet, maidenly woman, is scorned by the "Originals," a group of relentlessly noncomformist types, including clever Mike. Soon Mike stuns his fellow rebels by announcing his engagement to Davina, thus inadvertently inciting her murder and the reader's fierce need to know whodunit. The other 14 stories are also crackerjack, particularly "The Woman in the Wardrobe," the secret life of whose title character is revealed after her death; and the hilarious "Breakfast Television," about a fatal romance exposed by a hidden camera.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Fans will appreciate Barnard's first collection of 15 mysteries. More critical readers, however, will find the ironic endings or "untimely exits" too predictable and contrived and will miss the more adequate development of character and action and the sense of place that the novel form allows Barnard. In the pieces that work well ("The Woman in the Wardrobe," "Just Another Kidnap," "Death of a Salesperson"), Barnard is at his clever and skillful best, and his usual biases about society are in evidence. Libraries will no doubt want to order this for their Barnard fans and for that increasing population of readers who want short mysteries.
- Elizabeth Guiney Sandvick, North Hennepin Community Coll., Minneapolis
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Scribner, 1989. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0684190885
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