cover image Hot Money

Hot Money

Sherryl Woods. Dell Publishing Company, $4.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-440-21485-4

There is little suspense and even less action in this talky murder mystery. The third in a series, it offers scanty background information about protagonists Molly DeWitt and Detective Michael O'Hara (readers may thus be confused by references to events that took place in earlier volumes). Molly and Michael attend a glitzy environmental fund-raiser at the insistence of her friend Liza, who has helped organize the event. When the two sneak away from the party to dangle their feet off a dock, they discover the dead body of Tessa Lafferty--the wealthy socialite chairing the event--bobbing in the water. As they investigate, they discover that Tessa was not too discriminating about her sexual partners and, appearances to the contrary, not very politically correct. This story and a subplot about a possible custody battle between Molly and her ex-husband are revealed through dialogue that reads like the bare bones of a screenplay. Nor does Woods ( Hot Secret ) factor personalities into the narrative. Tessa's wealthy friends are indistinguishable from one another, and the romantic relationship between Michael and Molly seems artificially immobilized from being consummated. (Aug.)