Why Aren't They Screaming?

Joan Smith, Author Scribner Book Company $16.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-684-19028-0
A thin plot, coupled with a turnabout in the heroine's personality, will disappoint fans awaiting the return of London University English professor Loretta Lawson. The work also lacks the verve and ingenuity that made Smith's A Masculine Ending an exceptional debut. Suffering a bout of glandular fever, Loretta seeks a respite at the country cottage of Clara Wolstonecroft, a writer and illustrator of children's books. Unbeknownst to the 30-ish Loretta, a group of women have established a peace camp on Clara's property. They are protesting the presence of a nearby American air base. While the women are scorned and the camp set ablaze, Clara copes with much more: mind games, threatening letters and harassing phone calls. Loretta later discovers the landowner's corpse and becomes a prime suspect in the disappearance of a friend. The story's resolution is certain to disenchant many readers. Smith initially portrayed Loretta as a spunky, independent woman. In this book, she is the antithesis, relying upon her manipulative estranged spouse John Tracey, from whom she is separated but has never bothered to divorce. More frustrating is the incomprehensible change in Loretta; yet after finishing such an unsatisfactory mystery few will care. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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