Somebody Killed the Messenger

Clarissa Watson, Author Atheneum Books $0 (183p) ISBN 978-0-689-11963-7
Ranking with Watson's five previous mysteries, the sixth returns Persis Willums as chronicler of a swift, witty and terrifying tale. In Gull Harbor, L.I., Persis is helping her boss, Gregor Olitsky, to arrange an exhibit of masterpieces loaned to his gallery by monied, snobbish patrons. They are shocked when Seraphine Braceley phones from Amsterdam to say a messenger will bring a painting to the gallery, which she insists Olitsky include in the show. Knowing that even a mention of notorious Seraphinelong a social outcastwill outrage the community, Persis and Olitsky cringe when the picture arrives to be followed by police with questions about the vanished messenger. The town is in an uproar, and Seraphine's first and second of several husbands as well as her holier-than-thou family react to her nude image on the canvas that has reappeared a decade after it first scandalized the community. In hope of forestalling further outrages, Persis flies to Holland, then to France, searching in vain for elusive Seraphine. A killer does find the daring detective, though, at the chilling climax of this corker. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Hardcover - 232 pages - 978-0-89621-867-3
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