Clark's better gothic thrillers--Where Are the Children?, etc.--haven't been stylish or original; but they have undeniably...



Clark's better gothic thrillers--Where Are the Children?, etc.--haven't been stylish or original; but they have undeniably generated a certain visceral suspense--usually via the nightmare of kidnapped children and/or menacing psychos, along with a heroine in understandable psychic distress. This time, unfortunately, Clark forsakes virtually all of her reliable formulas, instead serving up a ho-hum (at best) murder mystery and a soporifically bland damsel-in-distress. Young actress Elizabeth Lange is still in shock over the death of her sister, superstar Leila LaSalle, six months ago--especially now that Leila's fiancÉ, tycoon Ted Winters, is about to go on trial for pushing Leila off the balcony of her Manhattan penthouse. Furthermore, Elizabeth herself is a key witness, having recognized Ted's voice over the phone just moments before Leila (on the eve of an ill-fated B'way opening) plunged to her death So, hoping to cool out for a week, Elizabeth goes to her old haunt, California's posh Cypress Point Spa, run by old pal Min and her baron-husband. There'll be no relaxation at the Spa, however. Handsome defendant Ted is also there, you see, trying to convince Elizabeth that he's not guilty. In fact, all the possible suspects in the case--Leila's crooked agent, her rival for Ted's love (a ruthless starlet), et al.--just happen to be at the Spa, complete with implausible motives and state secrets. And one of them is a murderer who's getting ready to kill again: first to aye is dear old Dora ""Sammy"" Samuels, Leila's companion, who knows too much about the nasty anonymous letters Leila had been getting before she died. And next to go will be Elizabeth herself. . .unless a certain handsome tycoon saves her in the nick of time. Clark gets a modicum of mileage out of the glamor-spa milieu--and gets a tad of comic relief out of a boisterously lower-class guest (a gossip-hungry lottery winner). As a mystery, however, this is fifth-rate: any even reasonably alert reader will pick out the culprit in the first few chapters--thanks to a heavy-handed hint or two. And, as romantic suspense, this is bad imitation Phyllis A. Whitney--thanks to deadly slow pacing, stilted talk, and faceless heroine Elizabeth.

Pub Date: June 28, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1987

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