Philly Stakes

Gillian Roberts, Author, Jay Ed. Roberts, Author
Gillian Roberts, Author, Jay Ed. Roberts, Author Scribner Book Company $17.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-684-19071-6
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
After a reading of A Christmas Carol , Philadelphia schoolteacher Amanda Pepper tries to instill a sense of compassion in her private-school sophomore students by suggesting they give a Christmas party for the homeless at a shelter. The idea is taken over and perverted by one of the parents, automobile and real-estate tycoon and politician Alexander ``Sandy'' Clausen, who arranges a catered party at his home with plenty of publicity. Late at night after the party, Clausen is found burned to death in the remains of the family Christmas tree, and his troubled daughter Laura confesses to killing him, as does her boyfriend Peter Shaw, although there is little evidence against them. Amanda becomes fiercely protective of Laura, whom she feels has a real talent for writing, and seeks to help her and her alcoholic mother. Since Amanda's new, and not yet fully committed, policeman lover C. K. Mackenzie is heading the investigation and appears convinced of Laura's guilt, Amanda probes to find another answer. A second body, a visit to a retirement home and a fairy tale pave the way to the denouement. Roberts ( Caught Dead in Philadelphia ) writes a literate, enjoyable mystery that provides a keen and witty insight into modern mores. ( June )
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