Death by Education

Marion Rosen, Author
Marion Rosen, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (215p) ISBN 978-0-312-09268-9
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The ramifications of murder at a Los Angeles high school are explored in this uneven first novel featuring English teacher and girls' counselor Greta Gallagher. Greta, who discovers the body of Belinda Jackson, doesn't believe the popular student was strangled by her boyfriend, even after learning that Belinda had been trying to break up with the boy, whom the police arrest. An autopsy reveals that Belinda was pregnant; then her best friend is also murdered, and Greta begins to suspect unsavory custodian Rudy Smith of the killings. She confides her belief in the police who follow up on her tip about Rudy's false alibi. But before anyone can celebrate the murders' resolution, Greta receives a threatening note in her school mailbox and Rudy is killed. As the murders and the investigation wreak turmoil in the halls of McCormick High, Greta spins romantic fantasies about the recently widowed principal, with whom she eventually spends the night and even comes to suspect might be the killer. Inconsistencies of character and plot mar this lively but jejune debut. (June)
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