Girl with the Phony Name

Charles Mathes, Author
Charles Mathes, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-08198-0
Reviewed on: 08/03/1992
Release date: 08/01/1992
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-250-01224-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 48 pages - 978-0-373-26246-5
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-312-33170-2
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4299-3645-3
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Convoluted and pretty wacky, this first novel features a woman who never knew her parents, a silver brooch that's the key to her mysterious origins and a happy-go-lucky Chinese undertaker who helps her trace her past. Thirty years after she, as a newborn child, was the only survivor of a car crash in New England, Lucy MacAlpin Trelaine, who has abandoned the quest to identify her parents, is named in a will. But all she inherits is a large, unattractive brooch engraved with Gaelic words and her name. The unemployed onetime Harvard student takes the Celtic pin to New York City, where she tries to discover its provenance and finds work with a jolly, top hat-wearing Chinese expatriate who has established a chain of ``Neat 'n' Tidy'' funeral homes/crematoria. Her boss generously flies her to Scotland to learn of her lineage, and what she discovers casts doubt on whether Lucy MacAlpin Trelaine is indeed her real name. Despite its zany characters and the unusual brooch with its intriguing history, contrived and improbable events overwhelm Mathes's tale. (Oct.)
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