cover image Scott Free

Scott Free

Marijane Meaker, writing as Vin Packer. . Carroll & Graf, $24.95 (298pp) ISBN 978-0-78671-867-2

This convoluted novel starring a transgendered insurance investigator, Scotti House, falls short of Meaker's better work, such as the sizzling lesbian pulp thriller Spring Fire (1952) that she wrote as Vin Packer and the young adult novel If I Love You, Am I Trapped Forever? (1973), published under the pen name M.E. Kerr. Set in the Hamptons, the mystery revolves around the kidnapping plot of the daughter of dying socialite Len Lasher and his wife, Lara. The trans- elements are sweet and real: Scotti's mother, ex-wife and daughter try to accept her new life while acknowledging their own distress and confusion. But clichés such the vituperative conflicts between the super-rich snobs and their hired help riddle the novel, and the crime elements fall flat. (May)