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THE FAMOUS FLOWER OF SERVING MEN

Deborah Grabien, Author
Deborah Grabien, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne $22.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-33387-4
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More ghost story than crime caper, Grabien's second novel to mix historical sleuthing and old English ballads makes good use of its source material. As in The Weaver and the Factory Maid (2003), theater producer Penny Wintercraft-Hawkes and her boyfriend, Ringan Laine, a folklorist and restorer of period buildings, combine their separate passions with a not always welcome affinity for legendary ghosts. The unexpected inheritance of an abandoned London theater from a practically unknown aunt allows Penny to give her company the luxury of a home base. The aunt not only left her the theater but thoughtfully supplied funds to restore it. Unfortunately, the theater is home to an active and vindictive female ghost, whose presence is forcefully announced even before Ringan can begin renovations. In order to lay the ghost to rest, the well-matched Penny and Ringan must discover who she is and what happened to her. Effective storytelling gives the ghost's manifestations a gloss of credibility, while Grabien's grasp of theater, folklore and history provides a feast of enjoyment. Agent, Jennifer Jackson at Donald Maass. (Nov. 17)

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