Skye Kathleen Moody, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-19364-5
In her third Venus Diamond mystery (Blue Poppy), Moody again incorporates an environmentalist message into her plot, this time tying it to our society's fear of aging. When Winnipeg and Theresa Nighteagle's baby disappears, Venus, a Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent, delays her honeymoon with environmentalist Richard Winter to head the search in Washington's Bogachiel National Wildlife Preserve. Recently the site of elk poaching, the preserve is also popular with ""wildcrafters"" who collect plants for herbal medicines and organic food companies. Someone is harvesting environmentally protected plants for the manufacturer of Elixir of Youth, an anti-aging concoction that also includes human growth hormones and liquid keratin from elk hooves. Moody vividly describes the horrors necessary to procure those two ingredients. As the hunt for the child continues, the plot stumbles occasionally, as when a shady Beverly Hills doctor eagerly offers Richard crucial information. Despite scattered weak points in writing and plotting, however, Moody weaves an entertaining story notable for its strong indictment of environmental predation and its lyrical descriptions of the ""Tolkienian landscape"" of Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Agent, Pam Ahearn. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
Mass Market Paperbound - 272 pages - 978-0-373-26332-5
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