Dr. Gruber's Daughter

Janice Elliot, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $18.95 (159p) ISBN 978-0-340-39762-6
Although the eponymous Dr. Gruber emerges early in this novel to eat pork chops and pig's innards with a middle-European countess who pays for his meal out of her dwindling supply of diamonds, his daughter appears much later, to turn a story already dense with innuendo into a tale of intrigue. The girl, who calls herself Vera, comes to live in a cottage presided over by Ilse Lamprey, who loathes the illegal immigrants she is forced to take in as lodgers but daren't expose herself and her secret to a more venturesome clientele. Ilse is attended by Babakov, a half-demented slavey who owes her his life but who willingly relinquishes his duties to Vera. Ilse's food immediately becomes tastier, an eventuality that, considering that the girl resembles a woman long since dead, dulls Ilse's appetite. Vera is never idle: she extorts payment from the men she seduces, commits a murder and at every opportunity climbs up to the attic on a mysterious mission. Eventually, however, she becomes the victim of her own evil. After a complicated, sometimes hilarious, always absorbing series of events, Vera and Dr. Gruber's identities are revealed in the pages of Ilse's confession. This latest offering by the popular British author is alive with wit and erudition and with characters who make you want to believe in their own outrageous quirkiness. (January)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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