Deadly Deception

Anne Farell, Author Simon & Schuster $18.5 (255p) ISBN 978-0-671-75339-9
The deadliest thing about Farell's debut novel is not the deception found therein but the protagonist's incredible thick-headedness. When Manhattan real estate mogul David Methany dies, his adoring 32-year-old daughter, Beth, inherits the presidency of the family corporation. Determined to do David proud, Beth plans to carry out his projects for ``a city-within-a-city'' in the Bronx. She is unaware that much of his success stemmed from his cold-blooded business tactics--he blackmailed union bosses and harassed elderly tenants unwilling to abandon their rent-controlled apartments. Via flashbacks, readers learn why David never paid for his unethical practices: an unsavory episode involving a DA who was investigating David, the man's wife, and a subsequent tragedy from which David escaped unscathed. Further evidence against David piles up as a bewildered Beth is stalked by a menacing letter-writer and phone-caller known only as ``J.'' Beth's blindless to Daddy's dirty dealings and to the villain's identity does not jibe with her good business sense; for example, when she admits to a confidante her neurotic reaction to white flowers and then, days later, receives such flowers as an anonymous gift, her suspicion fails to fall on the obvious person. Although Farell's exposition and plot are strong, her shallow characters undermine her book. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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