The Soul of Betty Fairchild

Robert Specht, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (385p) ISBN 978-0-312-05965-1
The focal crime in Specht's mildly diverting mystery thriller occurred 24 years ago in South Carolina, where Betty Fairchild, young, beautiful and rich, was brutally hacked to death. In present-day New York City, young and beautiful copywriter Drew Summers bears an uncanny resemblance to Betty. Drew is suddenly beset by blackouts during which she speaks with a Southern accent and seems possessed. Does she need a psychiatrist? An exorcist? Or is this a scam she's put together to get money from Betty's wealthy family? Drew travels to Betty's hometown, where Specht ( Tisha ) introduces a community of cliched, Southern gothic characters: a mean-spirited police chief; an exploitative reporter; Betty's powerful uncle Ray, who owns the town; and the family of the black man suspected of killing Betty. A host of ingenious but unconvincing plot twists rounds out the middling tale. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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