cover image The Secret of the Villa Mimosa

The Secret of the Villa Mimosa

Elizabeth Adler. Delacorte Press, $21.95 (375pp) ISBN 978-0-385-31212-7

Lust, greed and murder keep readers on their toes in Adler's new novel of romantic suspense. Psychiatrist Phyl Foster is intrigued with the unconscious Jane Doe found-having obviously been left for dead-in a San Francisco ravine. When the woman wakes up with amnesia, Phyl helps her try to remember her past and treats her like a kid sister, giving her clothes and a place to stay. The psychiatrist also runs interference for the woman, newly named ``Bea French,'' with macho homicide detective Franco Mahoney, who follows every lead toward Bea's true identity, which he hopes will help him discover who tried to kill her. After Phyl finds Bea a job as social secretary to a rich socialite, the amnesiac travels to Paris. When her employer dies suddenly, she is left with a fortune, two orphans, a restored French villa-and a 50-year-old murder mystery. Bea's investigation into that murder triggers her memory, so she calls Phyl for help, but the psychiatrist is busy with a jealous new lover. Meanwhile, Franco runs a check on the lover. What he finds sends him rushing to Paris to protect the innocent. Adler is expert at digging deep into her characters' psyches and showing what makes them tick. Her villain here is obvious but wonderfully portrayed-as are all the other characters in this well-plotted, entertaining work. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection. (Jan.)