Murder by the Book

Jennifer Rowe, Author
Jennifer Rowe, Author Crimeline $4.5 (296p) ISBN 978-0-553-29373-9
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-86340-604-8
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Rowe ( Grim Pickings ) fashions a perplexing, if emotionally unaffecting mystery set in the Australian publishing scene. Sydney publishing house Berry & Michaels is under new management, and bratty fledgling publicist Malcolm Pool proposes saluting the house's fresh start with several days of PR events featuring four bestselling authors. Loyal, longtime Berry & Michaels publicity manager Evie Newell, upset about the takeover, neglects to mention that the four authors in question hate one another, and the lethal plan is set in motion. Soon to arrive are Tilly Lightly, a manipulative, deceptively fragile children's author; Saul Murdoch, a melancholy novelist and Tilly's bitter ex-lover; Jack Sprott, a gnomish drunkard who pens gardening books; and Barbara Bendix, a greedy biographer. The catty quartet is housed in suites above the publishing house's offices, and it is not long before one of them expires. Is the death a suicide, a murder by one of the remaining trio or the revenge of a young novelist given an unfavorable review? Additional victims fall before Malcolm's disastrous promo blitz comes to its theatrical and surprising conclusion. (Jan.)
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