cover image Pandora by Holly Hollander

Pandora by Holly Hollander

Gene Wolfe. Tor Books, $17.95 (198pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85010-4

Barton is a wealthy Chicago suburb where, for many, boredom is staved off chiefly via an active social life that culminates yearly with the town fair. This year young Holly Hollander's mother is chairwoman, and for the raffle she has found a sealed antique box with who-knows-what inside and ``Pandora'' engraved on the lid. Is that a warning? Holly's chance acquaintance, criminologist Aladdin Blue, thinks so. When Holly's father hires Blue to study the murder of Holly's uncle, narrator Holly appoints herself as Blue's apprentice. Sci-fi writer Wolfe ( There Are Doors ) has Holly write in engaging, consistent teenage yup-speak, while allowing her to wrestle convincingly with both logical deductions and emotional conclusions. Blue is also an intriguing, fully dimensioned character. And it is most fitting that he, and not Holly, provides the solution, complete with a rationale for gathering together all the involved parties for the denouement. The town of Barton could well afford to sacrifice more socialties if doing so would bring this pair back on another case. (Dec.)