Showcase: A Charlotte Sams Mystery

Alison Glen, Author Simon & Schuster $18.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-74573-8
Although it gives a rare starring role to Columbus, Ohio, this debut by a pseudonymous pair of first novelists otherwise sticks doggedly to crime formulas and seldom generates much excitement. The prose is generally lively and cute, but generic; the authors spend too little time creating idiosyncrasies that would separate their protagonists--freelance writer Charlotte Sams and her best pal, retired psychologist Lou Torenson--from the sleuthing pack. At the opening of a swank Chinese art exhibit for which Lou is a volunteer worker, blowhard art expert Phil Stevenson notes the wrong number of toes on a statue and screams foul at the top of his lungs; he turns up dead the next day. Charlotte, sniffing a story, interviews some of the opening's guests: a good-looking plastic surgeon, his equally attractive wife (the obvious beneficiary of her husband's skills), a statuesque Nordic dancer and sundry others. The authors maintain an agreeably light tone but rarely develop their characters beyond simple stereotypes. They've found a fresh new crime spot in Columbus, but they need to work on the rest of their package in the next volume of this projected series. ( Oct. )
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-4767-9995-7
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