With the return of Elizabeth Halperin and her daughter, Emily (now three), Goldstone (Mommy and the Murder) descends from the lightweight to the cartoonish. When Elizabeth's occasional date, real estate developer Jonathon Nichols, is murdered at his Lenox, Mass., construction site, the lumpish, unimaginative Chief Rudge figures Elizabeth, a mystery writer and wealthy widow, did him in. Jonathon, who was not what he seemed, died without telling Elizabeth where he stashed the $30 million he obtained fraudulently, but who believes her? Certainly not Alejandro and Kristina Tumenas, who say they're acting for innocent refugees tricked out of their money; or Ed Pasquini and Frank Plishtin, a pair of leering sexagenarian tennis bums who say they're with the FBI; or even suave and handsome Simon Montgomery, who says he wants to take Elizabeth out for dinner. Surely they wouldn't kill her for the money--but someone might. As apparently accidental deaths gradually befall some of her new acquaintances, Elizabeth stalks the rat who did in her rat of a boyfriend. Humor surrenders to labored cuteness as Elizabeth shows signs of taking on a snobbish sheen and as the suspects become less believable but not more amusing. Readers may find themselves hoping that levelheaded little Emily grows up quickly enough to solve Goldstone's next case. U.K., first serial and dramatic rights: Jane Dystel. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1997 Release date: 02/01/1997 Genre: Fiction
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