FLEECED: A Regan Reilly Mystery
Los Angeles PI Regan Reilly crosses the continent to visit Manhattan, her parents, and lover (New York cop Jack "no relation" Reilly), but ends up with almost all of her time consumed by a murder mystery. Clark's breezy, choppy style—she crams 81 chapters into a page count achieved with generous amounts of white space—and cavalcade of eccentric characters are the sum of the book. Dithering friend Thomas Pilsner, president of the Settlers' Club in Gramercy Park, calls Regan when two of the club's oldest and wealthiest members die just before they were to give the club four diamonds valued at more than $4 million. The money would have allowed Pilsner to save the venerable but deteriorating club but, alas, the diamonds have disappeared. Convinced that the "accidental" deaths were nothing of the sort, Pilsner wants Regan to prove it and recover the missing diamonds. A nascent butlering school, a dating service, a histrionic movie director, a pair of grasping con men and a couple of stuffed sheep figure prominently in the cast. A strange collection of oddballs and schemers have made the Settlers' Club the focus of their attentions, and the author rapidly switches her attentions from one to another till they collide in a climactic scene in which the killer stands revealed. Clark's light touch can be entertaining, but those expecting a real solution to the murder might be disappointed. (Oct. 23)
Forecast:With a nine-city author tour and foreign rights already sold in France and Germany, plus the high name recognition, this title seems destined for generous sales.