FATAL CHARM by Anne Morice


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Here, urbane, nosy actress-sleuth Tessa Crichton (Murder on Cue, etc.), wife of Robin, Scotland Yard VIP, is much involved with England's famed acting family, the Deverells. Matriarch Evadne is being given an 80th-birthday tribute on TV--in which Tessa gets to say a few lines. The hour's climax is the dramatic entrance of Eliza, youngest of Evadne's children, supposedly just arrived from the remote Pacific island where she's lived for the past ten years with anthropologist-husband Conrad. The morning after the program, however, Eliza is found dead in her hotel room--apparently the victim of a prescribed drug overdose. Investigation reveals some well-hidden facts: she had actually arrived some days before and had, in fact, met with Tessa's writer-friend Rodney Blackmore about a series of scripts she'd written that he hoped to edit and market; she was pregnant, despite her claim to be unable to bear children; and she was secretly planning a stay of several weeks. In the meantime, another of the Deverell clan--granddaughter Rosie--has just moved with infant Ned and ne'er-do-well lover Brian into a cottage near Tessa's playwright-cousin Toby. Rosie is the link that eventually allows Tessa to make the far-fetched connection to a killer--but not before numerous teas, luncheons, and dinners have been disposed of and prodigious amounts of gossipy chitchat exchanged. The offhand final explanations raise almost as many questions as they answer, but never mind--personality's the thing here, and Tessa's fans will find her in diverting form.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1989
Publisher: St. Martin's