Shattered Silk

Barbara Michaels, Author Scribner Book Company $15.95 (369p) ISBN 978-0-689-11620-9
Haskell Maloney's mother named her after an Oriental museum, and three months later died, leaving the baby girl, whose father had already been killed in Vietnam, in the care of a loving aunt. Grown up and engaged to be married, Haskell discovers she is a carrier of Tay-Sachs disease, most unlikely for the offspring of an Irish Catholic father and a Pennsylvania Dutch mother. She breaks off her engagement to begin the quest to learn her true paternity. Before becoming pregnant, her mother had been a student at the Oriental Institute in Chicago; Haskell's treasured possessions include snapshots taken there of her mother, Kevin Maloney, the man she married, and other friends. Haskell persuades one of the men in the pictures, now a professor, to take her on as unpaid summer help at the Institute, which still is in the unyielding grip of Victor Nazarian, a profoundly wealthy, ill and elderly eccentric, whose only son, also in the photos, died in the late '60s in an explosion caused by a home-made bomb. Her paternity now seriously in doubt, Haskell thinks she could be Nazarian's heir along with his daughter, who is married to another of the men in the pictures. Haskell's suppositions mount as does the danger she finds herself ina drink is poisoned and the cottage she lives in is rifled, then set afire. Finally she must also question who it is that wants her dead. A rousing chase through dark museum halls brings surprising facts to light, and helps Haskell decide where true love lies. Presenting a classic Gothic tale in modern dress, Michael's latest (after Shattered Silk) will delight old fans and garner new ones. 50,000 first printing, $50,000 marketing campaign, Doubleday Book Club main selection, Literary Guild alternate. (September 29)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
Genre: Nonfiction
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