Mrs. Mallory Investigates

Hazel Holt, Author St. Martin's Press $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-312-03894-6
Writing with originality but staying within the conventions of British whodunits, Holt makes her debut in a witty and oddly poignant story. The narrator is Sheila Mallory, middle-aged and widowed, the brightest among her friends in the almost cloistered society of rural Taviscombe. The circle is invaded by foxy Lee Montgomery, brought by her fiance, Charlie Richardson, to meet Sheila and his other old friends. Although Lee makes her feel ``short, dull, provincial,'' Sheila promises Charlie she will look after his love while he's abroad. When someone murders Lee, ``looking after'' her means trying to find out who killed her and why. Becoming an amateur detective, Sheila asks questions about the victim's background, finding answers among people Lee had injured unforgivably and, eventually, the person who stopped her from doing further damage in her mindless lust for possessions. The denouement stands out as a deftly understated, satisfying surprise. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 224 pages - 978-0-451-40269-1
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