The Death of an Amiable Child: An Anita Servi Novel (Anita Servi Mysteries)

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9780802733467: The Death of an Amiable Child: An Anita Servi Novel (Anita Servi Mysteries)
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Gone, but not Forgotten

When Manhattan social worker Anita Servi stumbles over the body of an elderly female outside her apartment, she recognizes her as Lillian, the homeless person who spent occasional nights in the hallway and whom some tenants call the "lady of the landing." Though the woman's death is ruled accidental, Anita, whose work with New York's elderly gives her uncanny insight into their lives -- and deaths -- digs deeper into Lillian's murky past and makes some stunning discoveries. Why did Lillian choose this building as a place to sleep? And why, despite her wealth, did she need to be homeless? As Anita, uncovers the shocking answers, the dark and dangerous face of a killer emerges, determined to make sure Anita takes the truth to her grave.

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Review:

Irene Marcuse's first novel is a delicately delineated triumph, a quiet mystery that revolves around character and setting rather than hotly pursued clues and frantic detection. Anita Servi, a Manhattan social worker, has made a career of tending to the city's elderly. Crippled by arthritis, plagued by shrinking Social Security checks, relegated to dilapidated residence hotels that, with their fading paint and chipped brickwork, "look like the eccentric aunt who didn't get invited to the wedding over on Broadway," her clients still amaze her with their resilience. All the more shocking, then, for Anita and her daughter Clea to stumble over the body of Lillian Raines on their apartment landing. A former client, now homeless, the frail but dignified "Lady of the Landing" had become a fixture in their daily lives. Though the police term Lillian's death an accident, Anita is unconvinced. As she digs deeper into the old woman's shadowy past, ancient grievances come to light, weaving the fixtures of Anita's life--friends, neighbors, clients, coworkers--into an uneasy web of deception and murder. When more elderly women are threatened, it's up to Anita to unravel the tangled threads.

The sights, sounds, and smells of New York's Upper West Side permeate the book. The city bustles and hums, stretching out before Anita and the reader in an intoxicating, vibrant landscape: "Broadway, the street, puts on as good a show as any theater on the Great White Way. One time, Catherine and I saw a tall black man gamboling around in nothing but a pair of red wool socks. Two cops chased after him, lumbering hippos to his graceful gazelle. It made both our days. Who needs TV talk shows?" For all of its pollution and poverty, New York, through Anita's eyes, softens into an appealingly ungainly, overgrown village. It's the kind of place where all one's creature comforts and quotidian rituals may be satisfied in just a few square blocks, where anonymity gives way to recognition.

Marcuse's affectionately drawn characters, canny dialogue, and adept sense of pace set The Death of an Amiable Child far above the usual cadre of earnest but awkward first novels. Readers should look forward with eager anticipation to Anita Servi's next urban appearance. --Kelly Flynn

About the Author:

Irene Marcuse is the granddaughter of social philosopher Herbert Marcuse, an accident of birth that has formed a lot of her life. She has lived all over the United States and worked as a medical technician, long distance telephone operator, house cleaner, waitress, painter and wallpaper hanger, bead stringer, proofreader, and editor before receiving an MSW in social work from Columbia University. Before becoming a full time writer, Irene was Assistant Director of Morningside Retirement and Health Services.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780373264339: The Death Of An Amiable Child (Worldwide Library Mysteries)

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ISBN 10:  037326433X ISBN 13:  9780373264339
Publisher: Worldwide Library, 2002
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9780709080763: The Death of an Amiable Child

Robert..., 2006
Hardcover

9781847825551: The Death of an Amiable Child (Ulverscroft)

Ulvers..., 2009
Hardcover

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Marcuse, Irene
Published by Walker & Company, New York, Ny, U. S. A. (2000)
ISBN 10: 0802733468 ISBN 13: 9780802733467
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Book Description Walker & Company, New York, Ny, U. S. A., 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. For Anita, serving the cause of justice was a way of life. Working with the elderly on New York City's Upper West Side, she'd learned how they were treated and mistreated, by the services and, sadly, sometimes by those who should be caring for them. Using her contacts to move through the seemingly cold worlds of police, social services, and city agencies, Anita begins to piece together the story of an elderly woman who she occasionally cares for. Then she finds some papers that not only offer most of the answers about the elderly lady but also lead her to Riverside Park's memorial to The Amiable Child and that threatens her life. 227 pages, binding is cloth. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 000735

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Marcuse, Irene
Published by Walker & Company, New York, Ny, U. S. A. (2000)
ISBN 10: 0802733468 ISBN 13: 9780802733467
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
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Nan's Book Shop (IOBA)
(Glen Ellyn, IL, U.S.A.)
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Book Description Walker & Company, New York, Ny, U. S. A., 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. For Anita, serving the cause of justice was a way of life. Working with the elderly on New York City's Upper West Side, she'd learned how they were treated and mistreated, by the services and, sadly, sometimes by those who should be caring for them. Using her contacts to move through the seemingly cold worlds of police, social services, and city agencies, Anita begins to piece together the story of an elderly woman who she occasionally cares for. Then she finds some papers that not only offer most of the answers about the elderly lady but also lead her to Riverside Park's memorial to The Amiable Child and that threatens her life. 227 pages, binding is cloth. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 000737

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Book Description Walker Books, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0802733468

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