Last Rights

David F. L. Dawson, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (237p) ISBN 978-0-312-04304-9
Dawson is a Canadian psychiatrist whose powerful debut, unmarred by amateurish failings, begins in Shelburne Villa, a ``home'' for the elderly. Hot-tempered retiree Henry Thornton annoys the staff with questions about the recent, unexpected deaths of other residents. Making waves, the upstart initiates events--from wildly humorous to fearful and heartrending--that unfold at breakneck speed. Henry believes Dr. Adam Bennet is killing the inmates; he even suspects the kind and efficient nurses. Convinced he'll be the next to die of ``senility,'' Henry decamps with his 70-ish lady love, Dixie Brown. On the loose in Toronto, the couple rejoice until a mugging ends their idyll and the authorities return them to the presumed safety of the villa. There, suspense heightens as the action rushes toward a staggering disclosure. Dawson's vital characters and the ambience of his city and institutional scenes earn him respect as the author of both a superb mystery and a compelling novel. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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