Bitter Herbs

Natasha Cooper, Author, Daphne Wright, Author Crown Publishers $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-59023-2
Willow King, drab London civil servant by day and glamorous romance writer by night, embarks on her fourth mystery when she agrees to work on a memoir of Gloria Granger, a recently deceased writer whose once popular bodice rippers had become ``outmoded.'' Willow's task is complicated by the difficulty of finding anyone willing to say something pleasant about the self-centered and foul-tempered author. While interviewing Gloria's staff (including a much put-upon niece, Marilyn Posselthwate), publishing house employees and even a disgruntled reviewer, Willow warms to the idea that Gloria was murdered--a claim dismissed by her own lover, policeman Tom Worth. Willow's sympathies shift between the deceased victim and the still-living victims the woman left behind, triggering some (not very deep) questions about her own relationships with Tom and her housekeeper. Cooper ( Bloody Roses ) has penned an effective puzzle, but her characters often seem mean-spirited, an element that detracts from the novel's overall impact. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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