Claudia's Shadow

Charlotte Vale Allen, Author
Charlotte Vale Allen, Author Mira Books $24 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55166-245-9
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996
Release date: 05/01/1996
Mass Market Paperbound - 298 pages - 978-1-55166-177-3
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Ding dong, Claudia's dead, and there is no shortage of people lining up to remind her surviving older sister just what a witch she was. In Allen's latest novel (after Somebody's Baby), Rowena Graham, an insecure and cautious librarian, can't accept the police finding of suicide by overdose of pills and whiskey. It seems that game-playing Claudia would have left a note-if only to cause others as much pain as possible-and she never drank Chivas Regal. As her younger sister's sole beneficiary, Rowena, 39, inherits an expensive Fairfield County, Conn., home, a posh New Canaan restaurant and a fabulous wardrobe. Investigating Claudia's life and death, Rowena focuses on Anthony Reid, an attractive psychiatrist whom Claudia had claimed as her boyfriend but who says that the dead woman was suffering from ""erotomania"" and was stalking him. Before long, it looks like the newly smoking, drinking and well-dressed Rowena is turning into Claudia-a situation that perhaps only the revelation of buried secrets can remedy. Rowena's transformation never quite washes, but those who enjoy psychological suspense stories about dysfunctional families will find satisfying diversion here. (May)
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