Dead Man's Float

Beth Sherman, Author Avon Books $6.5 (288p) ISBN 978-0-380-73107-7
Sherman, who writes the ""Design and Decor"" column for Newsday, has written a debut with a merely workmanlike mystery but a nifty character angle. Sherman has distilled her long experience as a home writer into her character, Anne Hardaway, a lifelong resident of Oceanside Heights, N.J., who ghosts on such books as Mary Lou Popper's Household Guide for People Who Hate to Clean. When an old flame returns to town and promptly drowns under mysterious circumstances, Anne brandishes her encyclopedic knowledge about homes and their inhabitants to track down the murderer. Each chapter begins with what turn out to be cleverly related household hints, such as: ""To remove dust from plants, you could flick them with a feather duster.""Unfortunately, the plot suffers from a tried-and-true familiarity and the descriptions of Jersey shore history run long. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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