The headline-grabbing case of a closet transvestite who kills his wife and retains custody of his daughter--circumstances resembling the real-life Pikul murder (see review of Deadly Masquerade , Nonfiction Forecasts, this issue)--is the basis for Yglesias's smartly paced sixth novel (after Hot Properties ). Molly Gray, a New York City lawyer, reveals how she bolted from her impoverished past (with great guilt), became best friends with talented artist and musician Wendy Sonnenfeld (with wonder and delight) and wed ``shrink to the stars'' Stefan Weinstein (with ebbing passion). When unsightly Ben Fliess marries Wendy, Molly finds him odious and his behavior peculiar. But when Naomi is born to the couple, childless Molly becomes the doting ``aunt'' and excuses all--until Wendy starts anguishing over Ben's frequent moodswings and tantrums. Is he having an affair? Molly learns the truth and unwisely shares it with Wendy, who doesn't survive the weekend. Who is to raise Naomi? The quirky legal system permits even a criminal parent to retain custody. How Molly ingratiates herself with the man in ``pancake and blush and lipstick'' whom she is sure pummeled her best friend to death is both ingenious and mad. How far will a sane person go to save someone she loves, and how far can she go without losing her senses? Yglesias's adroit plot climaxes in a totally unanticipated third-act heartstopper. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990 Release date: 08/01/1990 Genre: Fiction
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