Smoke Screen

Marianne MacDonald, Author Minotaur Books $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-24243-5
Dido Hoare's third adventure (following Death Autograph and Ghost Walk) firmly establishes her as a delightfully cerebral sleuth. The London antiquarian bookseller faces the perils and pitfalls of a flaky customer at an Oxford book fair. Clare Templeton Forbes, sarcastically referred to as ""Her Majesty,"" is well known to--and avoided by--Oxford booksellers. When she offers Dido an opportunity to look at some books she has for sale, Dido accepts, even though colleagues warn her to avoid Clare's tantalizing offers. Soon Clare has swept Dido into a bizarre household consisting of Clare; her daughter, Georgina Laszlo; granddaughter Gina; and an American scholar named Jay Roslin. What keeps Dido associating with such characters is a house full of extraordinary books, plus a prime collection of materials from the late poet Orrin Forbes, Clare's lover and Georgina's father. What follows is a macabre dance as Dido tries to sort through the books, the tangled question of their ownership and the minefield of relationships in the household. Trouble of a different order, however, finds Dido after Her Majesty is killed and the bookseller becomes the prime suspect. Macdonald brings a refreshing blend of book lore, romance, quirky characters and a first-rate puzzle to the venerable predicament of an amateur sleuth who must exonerate herself. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/1999
Release date: 12/01/1999
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-06-103050-5
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