cover image Dark and Deadly Pool

Dark and Deadly Pool

Joan Lowery Nixon. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (179pp) ISBN 978-0-385-29585-7

Mary Elizabeth's summer job at the health club of a ritzy hotel would be just about perfectexcept for a series of eerie incidents that occur when she is alone by the pool at night. Convinced they are related to a series of robberies plaguing the hotel and its guests, she tries to figure out the linka mission of increasing urgency once she discovers a corpse in the pool. By the end of the story, Mary Elizabeth has exposed a circle of thieves headed by her own boss, a group said to have links to organized crime. This is a moderately suspenseful mystery, rounded out with touches of humor and romance, but not one of Nixon's best. There are too many glitches in the complicated plot for it to be fully convincing. The protagonist's foolhardy ingenuousness strains credibility: she discusses events related to the case freely, even after it seems likely an insider is involved. The relationship between the thefts and the syndicate is never really clear, and the revelation that drug deals are somehow involvedwhich would justify the otherwise inexplicable violenceis tacked-on, vague and ultimately unpersuasive. Ages 12-up. (November)