Style and Substance: A Comedy of Manners

Judith Martin, Author Atheneum Books $15.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-689-11514-1
There is just enough scandal, sex and suspense in this comedy of manners by the writer of the syndicated ""Miss Manners'' column and the novel Gilbert, to offset its somewhat self-congratulatory tone. When narrator Alice Bard loses her job as a TV newscaster because she has ``inexcusably aged,'' she revisits the Greece of her childhood, determined to become an instant mother by bringing home Andreas, son of her best friend Ione, an archeologist living on the island of Santorini. Frescoes predating the Trojan War have been discovered there, and are soon to be exhibited in a Washington museum, whose curator, Maximilian von Furst, flies back to the States with Alice and thence into her heart and bed. Although the arrival of Andreas and Ione inhibits lovemaking, the real trouble comes with Alice's college classmate, Rachel Colt, whose cosmetics fortune not only turns the exhibit into a national gala but also redirects Max's affections to his wealthy sponsor. As a wedding gift, Rachel presents Max with a million-dollar statue of Athene, the authenticity of which, however, is doubtful. While Alice is trying to sort out both her emotions and her suspicions, her former beau, lawyer Bill Spottswood, frequents her house with his four children, to be closer, Alice believes, to the beauteous Ione. These tangled threads are happily unraveled in a book whose interest derives as much from its familiarity with the media and the arts worlds as from the intricacies of its plot.(November 5)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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