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 Shone's first novel is an endearingly amateurish Agatha Christie pastiche with echoes of Death on the Nile, Appointment with Death, and Mrs. McGinty's Dead, among others. Ulysses Finnegan Donaghue, her Irish Poirot, is hired to protect singer/actress Salome (nÇe Sandra Trescott) from unspecified threats that her mother's worried about. Agreeing to take the case when he returns from his vacation in the south of France, Donaghue fortuitously ends up staying at the abbey retreat that Sandra's aging filmmaker husband, Thelonius Kapp, is inauguratingonly to find that Sandra's about the only one who's not at risk, as three of the assembled company die within hours. As Donaghue interviews the dozen gratuitous suspects, most of them as insubstantial as ghosts, author Shone, in the spirit of her great original, trots out a mysteriously monogrammed brooch, a floor plan of the abbey, a million coincidences and red herrings, and a denouement that seems to run longer than The Mousetrap. A guilty pleasure for hardcore fans of the formal detective novel, though most readers will take it as indication enough of why the fashion passed. If you've ever wondered what Agatha Christie's characters would talk about if they came back in the '90s, you'll find that there's precious little on their minds.

Pub Date: July 14th, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-13127-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1995