The Harlequin's Son

Andre Launay, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (239p) ISBN 978-0-312-00605-1
What begins as a smooth, often funny and occasionally brilliant look at how upper-middle-class English families deceive themselves in the name of propriety ends with a series of horrifying, ice-cold shocks. Thirteen-year-old Alexander Saranson wonders who his father is or was. His shallow mother Sarah (whose ex-husband is not the father) finds herself slipping into restive middle age and unable to quell Alexander's curiosity. Visiting his rich, stuffy grandparents for the summer holidays, Alexander has only two confidantes: Mme. Rimbaud (Tante Louise), Sarah's worldly old friend; and Mary Northey, a 13-year-old neighbor, ""simple'' child of a house painter confined to a mental hospital. Alexander uses his considerable, though innocent, wits to find his real father and becomes enmeshed in the terrifying murder of an infant. The tangled skein of secret relationships eventually leads to another murder. Launay's (Daddy, etc.) acidly witty look at English mores just barely prepares the reader for the stunning end of this first-rate novel. (May 19)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-312-91022-8
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