VANISHING ACT by Barbara Block


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A college in Syracuse, New York, is the not too interesting focal point for the fifth in this series featuring widowed pet-shop owner/sleuth Robin Light (The Scent of Murder, 1997, etc.). This time, Robin’s been asked by student Bryan Hayes to try to find his sister Melissa, also a student, who’s missing for four months. Her disappearance has worsened the condition of their dying mother. Thus begins a round of interviews with Melissa’s dormmates and other connections—excluding, of course, her last year’s roommate Jill Evans, who’d fallen to her death from a third-floor window. Melissa’s boyfriend Tommy West is neither friendly nor forthcoming. Neither is his father, a millionaire builder who’d once employed Melissa’s mother and who’s now threatening to have Robin arrested for harassment. Her reception at a meeting with psychology Professor Fell, supposedly a confidant of the missing girl, is more gracious but no more productive. Robin’s black boyfriend George is no help. He’s totally absorbed in trying to tame his wayward visiting nephew Raymond. Rumors surface of a lesbian relationship, of heavy drinking, broken romances, and suicide. There are guns in the picture, too, with one of them providing the impetus for the melodramatic finale. The dialogue is cool, but the action is mostly contrived in this amiable, only mildly engaging outing.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-57566-326-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998


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