A Toast to Cousin Julian

Estelle Thompson, Author Walker & Company $15.95 (172p) ISBN 978-0-8027-5665-7
Set in Australia, this deftly written mystery features 25-year-old Patricia Kent, whose quick intelligence and spirited heroics put the lesser characters in the shade. Patricia travels to Queensland to cast the deciding vote on whether to sell the foundering family business, Selbridge Furniture. Never having met this particular branch of the family, she soon realizes that they have a strange and troubled past. Eleanor Selbridge West is a shattered and embittered recluse who has never fully recovered from her husband Julian's attempt on her life. One of Eleanor's brothers, Nigel Selbridge, is under a cloud of suspicion for embezzling company funds, and another, Gordon, may be smuggling heroin. Trish is determined to save the company, but suddenly a new series of disasters strikes: a fire hits the plant and a valued employee is brutally murdered. Trish stumbles upon a succession of clues that provides the motive for the havoc, but now the murderer is stalking her. Though Thompson ( Hunter in the Dark has created a plucky heroine, the unconvincing secondary characters considerably weaken the novel. (January)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-7089-1634-6
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