Danger from the Dead

E. X. Ferrars, Author
E. X. Ferrars, Author Doubleday Books $16.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-41995-6
Hardcover - 260 pages - 978-0-7505-0358-7
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Murder turns a history teacher's vacation into a painful ordeal in Ferrars's ( Sleep of the Unjust ) engrossing whodunit. English public school teacher Gavin Cleaver agrees to spend a month in the country with his brother Nigel and his semi-invalided novelist sister-in-law Annabel after learning that her sister Caroline will also be there. Caroline is indifferent to him, however, and he soon resolves to leave--plans that change when he finds Caroline shot through the head and Annabel dead of a stroke, the murder weapon near her body. Annabel is suspected of killing her sister in a jealous rage, and Nigel admits to an affair, but not with Caroline. In scenes set only in the house or in Gavin's guest cottage, the remainder of the action resembles a play with various groupings of relatively few players--including a neighboring family and the two Cleaver sisters--exploring the case. The course of everyone's inquiries shifts dramatically when Nigel is murdered. Some genre devotees might guess the identity of Caroline's murderer, but the jumble of persuasive alibis and theories will keep most readers hanging until the last surprise. (Mar.)
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