The Girl with Red Suspenders

Barbara Whitehead, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (205p) ISBN 978-0-312-04320-9
Whitehead's ( Playing God ) second mystery set in York, England, unsuccessfully blends pyschological suspense, police procedural and romance. In its promising beginning, the solitary and unimaginative Detective Inspector Dave Smart finds the body of a dead woman along the riverbank. Smart immediately feels a rapport with the beautiful corpse, and is titillated by a glimpse of red suspenders beneath the woman's disarranged clothing. Although there is no evidence suggesting violence, he is convinced that he has discovered a murder. When the victim is identified as Patricia Feltame, a rich deb employed as a social worker, and her twin brother, a crack addict, is missing, Smart's investigation takes him and his young assistant, Jenny Wren, into the local fast lane. As the novel progresses, the most intriguing element--Smart's obsession with Patricia--is buried by details of the routine drug investigation (and police shock at the way crack has invaded their city) and a gratuitous romance. Passing up an opportunity to explore the dark side of a detective and the nature of his work, Whitehead settles for a contrived, unpersuasive story. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-7089-3142-4
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