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Posing as a landscape architect in order to find out what happened to her brother, Brad, Diana Reed arrives at the Nicholson's eighteenth-century mansion, where Brad was last seen, and enters a bizarre world of treachery. Simultaneous.
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Elizabeth Peters (writing as Barbara Michaels) was born and brought up in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. Peters was named Grandmaster at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986, Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar® Awards in 1998, and given The Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic in 2003. She lives in an historic farmhouse in western Maryland.From Kirkus Reviews:
Bestselling Michaels (Into the Darkness, 1990, etc., etc.) piles on the whipped cream but forgets the cake in this latest foray into romantic suspense--a contemporary cozy in which credibility is cheerfully sacrificed on the altar of whimsy and lace. There's something fishy about Diana Reed, the old-rose expert hired by a pair of former professors who've bought an 18th-century mansion in the Virginia countryside: Reed seems to know nothing about plants. Not that the trusting and house-obsessed Nicholsons notice; in fact, after a couple of days tramping the grounds with her newest employee, Emily Nicholson takes her husband off on a cross-country rose-hunting trip, conveniently freeing Reed from her watchful presence for the remainder of the book. For Diana, this situation is perfect: in real life a successful young attorney, she's come to the mansion to search for her missing brother (last seen working as a handyman for the estate's previous owner)- -prompted by strange psychic visions that feature danger, murder, and what seems to be a passionate Romeo-and-Juliet-style romance. Left alone in the house with Andy, Emily's dilettante son; Walt, a rugged-but-compassionate contractor; and Mary Jo, overworked housekeeper and ex-battered wife, Reed must sort out whether her increasingly frequent visions are a centuries-old psychic legacy or her brother's attempt to communicate from beyond the grave. Meanwhile, all present must weather such gothic conventions as a secret chamber behind the fireplace, a violent ex-husband lurking about the grounds, the psychological intrusions of Reed's neurasthenic mother and cold-as-nails lawyer father, and of course a heavy dose of ghostly whispers, nudges, and music-box-playing- -before the murderer of Diana's brother is found, the four young people can fall into one another's arms, and the elderly Nicholsons can return to gasp, amazed, at such astonishing goings-on. Silly dialogue and a sketchy plot make this a very undemanding treat--suited for summer-garden reading with a cup of tea at hand. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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