Trace Elements

Kathryn Lasky Knight, Author W. W. Norton & Company $15.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-393-02333-6
An author of prized children's books, Knight makes an uneven debut in crime fiction for adults. The story starts when Harvard physicist Tom Jacobs dies from a rattlesnake bite in the Nevada desert. His widow Calista and bright young son Charlie help each other endure the tragedy as they go on living in Cambridge. Over a year later, Charlie notices a puzzling mislabel at the Peabody Museum but it means little to Calista, who is engaged in a steamy affair with Werner von Sackler, a visitor from a German museum. The news of an archeologist dying in the same way as Jacobs, however, interrupts the romance. Convinced that both men have been murdered, Calista and Charlie go to Washington, D.C., to ask for information from Tom's friends. Getting no satisfaction, the frustrated investigators return home, where mad killers threaten Charlie with a death worse than his father's. A curious lack of feeling dilutes the menace here, and it is, in addition, difficult to like Calista. She's rude, scornful of people with tastes different from hers, not a heroine to root for wholeheartedly. Mystery Guild selection. (May 27)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-671-64089-7
Hardcover - 359 pages - 978-0-89621-757-7
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