WE THE BEREAVED by Anna Clarke


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Clarke isn't quite as prolific as she seems: at least one of her four 1982 US publications dates back to 1979. But there's definitely a sense of slapdash, hurried production about her recent psychological-suspense efforts--and this latest entry, strong on charm in its first half, peters out badly in the second. Clarke's likable narrator is small-town solicitor Harry Johnson, 62, still grieving over the recent, unsolved hit-and-run death of his wife. But then Harry is summoned to the deathbed of old Miss Porlock--a total stranger who leaves her entire estate . . . to Harry! And, while finding cathartic companionship with haunted-looking Dr. Grace Watson, Harry becomes convinced that the legacy is connected to his wife's death. Did Miss Porlock know who the driver was? Was it her slimy nephew? Or someone else for whom Miss P. felt responsible? But after some genteel sleuthing, Harry realizes that the driver was someone very close to new love Grace; and there'll be much guilty churning and lurching before the icky-sweet fadeout. More psychology than suspense, with Clarke in a du Maurier-manquÉ mode--but Harry may be engaging enough to carry tolerant readers along, even when things become decidedly soggy.

Pub Date: Dec. 3rd, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday