Bloody Roses

Natasha Cooper, Author, Daphne Wright, Author Crown Publishers $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-59022-5
Cooper, aka British novelist Daphne Wright, follows A Common Death with this suspensefully plotted addition to the Willow King mystery series. Self-assured, well-to-do Willow shares her creator's penchant for multiple personas: she pens bestselling bodice-rippers under the pseudonym Cressida Woodruffe. However, she willingly sets aside her latest book contract when she receives a frantic call from her ex-lover, Richard Crescent, who has been arrested for murder after finding co-worker Sarah Allfarthing with her throat slashed. Seriously doubting that Richard could be the killer, Willow masquerades as a training consultant to gain entry to the banking firm where he and Sarah worked; there, employees reveal that the victim had inspired many crushes and may have used blackmail to get plum assignments. The glamorous Willow, with a full-time housekeeper and an outfit for every occasion, seems fit more for a soap opera than for sleuthdom. Happily, she tempers her fantasy lifestyle with convincing concern for Richard. Although Willow's expected lone confrontation with the guilty party seems anticlimactic, this sparkling whodunit effectively blends mystery, sophistication and a dash of romantic melodrama. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1993
Release date: 01/01/1993
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