An English environmental activist teams up with an immensely wealthy rock star to prove that a new pesticide is by no means as benign as its maker would have the world believe. Francis's immense skill as a storyteller (Wolf Winter, 1988; Night Sky, 1984) steers her thriller firmly away from the usual ecohysteria. A rush crop-dusting job, an overworked pilot, poor maintenance, a sticky valve, and a sneaky new pesticide come together in the skies over the vast, isolated, Scottish holdings of a middle-aged rock star who's so much like Paul McCartney there's no point in imagining anyone else in the role. The misplaced pesticide settles on the rock star's pregnant wife, who begins a slow and painful death that, since there were no witnesses to the disaster, is blamed on a harmless wood preservative she'd been using. Into the life of the grieving musician comes Daisy Field, an exceptionally attractive lawyer who's now working full-time for an environmental action organization. Ms. Field has been digging into the cases of some much less famous people who've succumbed to the same symptoms as the musician's wife. Daisy narrows the suspect insecticides down to Silveron, a new product about to go on the market in the UK. Of course, Silveron's manufacturer has no intention of letting Daisy interfere with the success of the lovely new chemical, and her detective work is brutally blocked at every turn. Daisy's budding romance with the musician founders when her shakily documented case crashes. But all's not lost. An American scientist has some important evidence that, if the man will just stiffen his backbone, may help, and the pilot who started the mess, if he can be found, may clear up some crucial points. Ms. Field persists. Thoroughly readable. Daisy is the perfect heroine, and for once there is none of the pious, windy self-righteousness and sermonizing that are the usual curse of eco-thrillers.
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