A Relative Stranger

Margaret Lucke, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (295p) ISBN 978-0-312-06307-8
Its plot straining credulity at key junctures, Lucke's first mystery, featuring a sympathetic San Francisco artist and private investigator and her long-absent father, is too contrived to convince. Twenty years earlier, when Jessica Randolph was a baby, she and her mother were abandoned by her father, Allen Fraser. Out of the blue, Fraser suddenly calls to ask for her help, believing he's a suspect in the murder of socialite Deborah Collingwood, the daughter of his business partner; after first refusing to talk to him, Jess then urges him to go to the police. Fraser is unwilling: before he left the victim the night she was killed, she gave him an emerald necklace to hold for her father, an item the police are looking for. Finally deciding Fraser isn't the murderer, Jess determines to clear his name when he's charged and jailed. Although Jess's ruminations on her returned father ring true, improbable plot twists undermine the believability of the whole. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
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