Love Among the Orientals

Maxine Glassman, Author
Maxine Glassman, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (194p) ISBN 978-1-55611-529-5
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The comic, supernatural story line of this debut starts with a sexy conceit but then fizzles. Sophie, Jon, Sarah and Leslie all work at Classic Designs, an Oriental rug store in Boston's Back Bay run by husband-and-wife team Doris and Jake Seagull. Unbeknownst to them, these rugs' magical powers and bold designs have ""affected their libidos"": Leslie, a married woman in her 50s, has an affair with one of the customers; Sarah and Jon, both married to other people, succumb to their desires for one another; Doris and Jake work out their urges with the aid of their collection of sex toys. Amid all the whoopee, it is discovered that rugs have been stolen from the customers of Classic Design. And thus begins a very simple, obvious investigation, the outcome of which most readers will discover very early on. Since the novel is more genial erotica than whodunit, it could have profited from a little variety--or at least detail--since the flat stomachs, primed pudenda and mutual orgasms tend to blur. Certainly, the sex scenes can't leech any heat off the cardboard characters, and the attempts at serious subplots (concerning, for instance, Sarah's marriage) earn even less sympathy and interest than the skimpy glossary of rug terms at the back of the book. (June) FYI: Glassman worked for 18 years in an Oriental carpet store in Boston's Back Bay.
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