Death of an Alaskan Princess

Bridget Smith, Author St. Martin's Press $12.95 (149p) ISBN 978-0-312-01336-3
First novelist Smith really knows her stuff. The authentic locale, the author's encyclopedic knowledge of Indian culture and her understanding of the wheeling and dealing of the art market are all pluses for this mystery set in Juneau, Alaska. On the minus side is Smith's lack of confidence as a writer, which is manifested in rather stilted dialogue and some awkward phrasing. Young psychologist Wynne is accosted at a gallery opening by David Whitmore, an artist who's just made the leap from mediocre but popular to first-rate. His work now draws on Tlingit Indian mythology; his muse is the lovely Magdalena Peratravitch, an Indian princess who is a former alcoholic. Magdalena is murdered sometime that nightprobably by someone at the partyand policewoman Rita Manzoni, a tough, unsentimental newcomer to Juneau, asks Wynne to bring her professional skills and knowledge of the community to the case. Suspicion is thrown on various members of the established and avant-garde art communities, as well as on Royal Tagiloff, Magdalena's cousin with whom Wynne, still recovering from the circumstances of her disastrous marriage, has established a warm relationship. Wynne's insights in solving the mystery make her a good bet for further adventures. (February 19)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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