The Mooncalf Murders

Noel Vreeland Carter, Author, Vreeland Carter, Author Walker & Company $19.95 (328p) ISBN 978-0-8027-5744-9
Carter's mystery debut (she previously wrote? paperback romances) is not for those with queasy stomachs. Biographer Miranda Fay gets a sickening jolt when her dog noses out a horribly deformed fetusaren't all fetuses deformed, or unformed? yes, unformed, but not deformed --a ``mooncalf''--hidden in a grocery bag. Miranda has just separated from her husband, and is searching for diversion. Writing a series of investigative articles for the local paper gives her a wonderful excuse to pry into the sordid life and grisly death of Valda, the mooncalf's mother, a junkie who expired during an illegal abortion. Valda and Miranda are distantly related and so, it turns out, are several other women who have been impregnated by the father of Valda's misbegotton babe, a shadowy monster who rapes and sodomizes his victims. Carter trowels on gruesome plot twists with lip-smacking relish and whips the book to a truly demonic ending. But affected dialogue and characters cribbed from an English novel--a jewel of a landlady, a wealthy, eccentric uncle and his neighbor, a courtly Gallic romantic--undermine her efforts. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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