Murder Has a Pretty Face

Jennie Melville, Author
Jennie Melville, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (253p) ISBN 978-0-312-03405-4
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Melville brings back recently widowed CID Inspector Charmian Daniels, last seen in Windsor Red . A murder and several burglaries have struck her quiet English town, and Charmian must take over both cases when her superior officer is injured. The sexually mutilated murdered man was found to be carrying a card with Charmian's married surname. The venue of the thefts--a furrier and a jeweler's shops--lead her to believe they were committed by women. Meanwhile the reader is introduced to the criminal gang: beauty-shop owner Diana King, her accountant half-sister Bee Dawson, manicurist ``Baby'' Barker, and her lover Phyllis (Phil) Ladbury. Charmian, a customer in Diana's shop, becomes suspicious. The stage is set for a battle of will and skill between Diana and Charmian, who appears to turn rogue. While Melville has written solid mysteries in the past, this one, sadly, lacks tension. The characterization is weak and stereotyped, with the feminist issues central to her previous books being given somewhat perfunctory treatment, aside from the central fact that the gang consists of women who are not particularly fond of men. ( Oct. )
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