Perilous Relations

Carole Epstein, Author Walker & Company $22.95 (276p) ISBN 978-0-8027-3309-2
Egocentric, fashion-conscious and relentlessly nosy, Barbara Simons, a former public relations expert in Montreal, follows up her lively debut (Perilous Friends, 1996) with a somewhat less engaging adventure. Comfortably well-off despite her lack of employment, Barbara has formed a network of influential friends who are powerful, knowledgeable--and potentially dangerous. Thus, when her former boss, the head of PanCanada Airlines, is stabbed in his Montreal home, Barbara, who's already acquainted with the entire dysfunctional family, immediately begins to pry. The usual suspects are present: the curiously impassive wife; a pretentious brother-in-law; a devious business associate; several hostile mistresses. Although the mystery holds little intrigue, Barbara herself is a captivating creation. She is wonderfully self-indulgent, totally egocentric, generally caustic and insensitive yet capable of deep friendship with confidantes who include a fast-rising TV anchorwoman, an unpredictable fitness expert and a Montreal police detective who holds romantic possibilities. The deep political schisms between the English- and French-speaking factions involved add another dimension. The two sides are unfriendly--but are they murderous? Barbara's indelicate curiosity puts her in grave danger, but even her quirky antics, clumsy rather than clever, don't redeem a formulaic story that never catches fire. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
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