Flowers in the Blood

Gay Courter, Author Dutton Books $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-525-24897-2
First met at the turn of the century, Dinah Sassoon, heroine of Courter's fourth novel (after River of Dreams ), is a member of one of Calcutta's richest Jewish families, its fortune built on opium trading. Her opium- and sex-addicted mother is murdered by a jealous lover early on in this hefty volume; Dinah herself acquires two husbands (the first is homosexual, the second satisfyingly ardent), has a run-in with a dissolute and wily maharajah, and takes control of the family business in an attempt to legitimize its interests. By all rights, these ingredients should add up to heady reading, but Dinah is a bloodless narrator, merely shuffled from one incident to another. Courter scatters italicized words and phrases as if to exhibit her extensive research of the place and period (one wonders, however, how even the most curious reader can be edified by such sentences as ``When the spoon glowed, the cook was told to hold a large dekchi , or pot, over my head''). Its literary shortcomings aside, the book has plenty of commercial potential, and may prove attractive to those who like elaborate romance in exotic settings. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
Mass Market Paperbound - 640 pages - 978-0-451-17012-5
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