Dark Swan

Kathryn Lasky Knight, Author
Kathryn Lasky Knight, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-312-10961-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-373-26203-8
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In her fourth appearance (following Mumbo Jumbo ), Boston-based artist-sleuth Calista Jacobs uncovers the corrosive effects of generations of genteel power and social position. While drawing on the bonsai collection of Beacon Hill matriarch Quintana Kingsley as inspiration for book illustrations, Calista one day finds the elderly woman stabbed to death with her pruning scissors. At the funeral, the artist detects signs of neurosis and deep unhappiness throughout the extended family, except for its two black sheep--elderly, eccentric homosexual Rudy Kingsley and his massive cousin Titty, both of whom hint broadly at lurid family secrets. Somewhat against her better judgement, Calista befriends the family, persuading her son Charley, who has a summer job piloting the swan boats in Boston's Public Garden, to get a job there for Quintana's disturbed grandson. When the boy's alcoholic mother dies in an apparent suicide, family tensions escalate and Calista finds she is the only one with the right combination of interest and detachment necessary to uncover the truth. Knight's deft tale is laced with sharp social insight and infused with the warmth of affection displayed by Charley, the widowed Calista and her lover Andy. (July)
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