cover image So Soon Done for

So Soon Done for

Marian Babson, Author Walker & Company $15.95 (180p) ISBN 978-0-8027-5694-7

The quiet of Crozier Crescent, a fairly well-to-do London residential street, is destroyed when a family of squatters moves into a temporarily vacant house. A peculiarity of English law makes it difficult for anyone except the owners to do anything about the situation, but they are traveling and impossible to reach. Sylvia, the wife of advertising executive Jeremy, tries to mobilize the neighbors against Elf, the squatter mother, and her three children. The appearance of the fathers of two of the children and the secret of the paternity of the oldest, Poppy, lead to more turmoil. Elf, a leftover '60s flower child with no sense of consequences or responsibility, seems destined to create trouble wherever she goes. Other neighbors, Kay and her husband, Crispian, a music critic, try to help the family, Kay somewhat reluctantly. Crispian has an ulterior motive: one of the squatters, Sinbad, has a wonderful voice and Crispian wants to make him a star. Then a murderer strikes and disrupts everything. The prolific Babson (Murder on a Mystery Tour) has turned in another competent work. Unfortunately, as in so many of her books, the characters are one-dimensional and not very appealing. The ending is a shocker, though, and sad. (June)