Death and the Delinquent

B. J. Oliphant, Author, Sheri S. Tepper, Author Fawcett Books $4.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-449-14718-4
The fourth Shirley McClintock mystery has an appealingly picturesque New Mexico setting, but the surroundings do not often come into play. The plot centers on an accident in which April, the young companion of McClintock's foster daughter, is shot and McClintock injures her leg in an accident and is debilitated for the remainder of the story. No one seems to miss the dead girl much, least of all her parents. Those sentiments may be understandable, since she is portrayed completely unsympathetically, as both a brat and a thief. On the other hand, everyone is interested in a small golden horse found in her possession, and her death seems linked somehow to both the kidnapping of a prominent local resident's newborn child and the theft and resale of Native American pottery. McClintock prevails in the end, but it is hardly credible that, besides doing the cerebral work necessary to catch the villain, she manages to physically trap the bad guy while still on crutches. In a disturbing subplot, McClintock falls into an AIDS panic--subsequently found to be unjustified--when she learns that the doctor who operated on her leg is gay. Oliphant wrote Deservedly Dead. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1992
Release date: 12/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
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