cover image Square in the Face: A Claire Montrose Mystery

Square in the Face: A Claire Montrose Mystery

April Henry. HarperCollins, $24 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-06-019205-1

Henry's follow-up to last year's Circles of Confusion finds the clever, feisty Claire Montrose helping a friend, Lori Estrada, whose three-year-old son, Zach, has leukemia. Before Lori married, she gave birth to a daughter she then gave up for adoption. Lori asks Claire to find the girl, who may be the only genetic match for a bone-marrow transplant to save Zach. So Claire returns from a visit to New York and her lover, Dante, a curator at the Met, and fakes a pregnancy to enter the Bradford Clinic, where Lori's daughter was born. There, the mysterious Dr. Bradford provides financial and medical assistance to pregnant women who will relinquish their babies for private adoption. Claire locates Lori's records and four possible adoptive couples. Eventually she and her housemate, Charlie, an 80-year-old WWII refugee, hone the list to one--reclusive movie stars Amanda and Kurt Price. Then Claire is threatened. Is she proving dangerous to Bradford Clinic operations? Or is the problem her invasion of the Prices' privacy? She finally convinces the Prices to cooperate, but tests show that their daughter isn't Zach's sister. Undaunted, Claire returns to the clinic. Henry writes an absorbing and at times moving mystery with a lively heroine who is never really in danger and venal villains who are easily dispatched. Claire's bicoastal romance with Dante still must be resolved, but that's for another book. (Feb.)