Sadly, the killer’s revealed just as the lovers have resolved their differences. The last thirty pages might as well be...

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SUSPICION OF MALICE

Miami lawyer Gail Connor squares off against her ex-fiancé Anthony Quintana in the fifth volume of this interchangeably titled series (Suspicion of Betrayal, 1999, etc.).

After Roger Cresswell, do-nothing Executive VP of Cresswell Yachts, is shot dead in the middle of a spirited party on the family estate, Gail’s old nemesis Sgt. Frank Britton naturally overlooks all the family members present to fix on Bobby Gonzalez, East Harlem tough guy/ballet dancer, who was working at the party even though Roger had just fired him from his job at the boating yard. Bobby’s girlfriend Angela Quintana swears that he couldn’t have been the killer, but she doesn’t want to tell her old-world father that part of Bobby’s alibi depends on her. So Gail goes instead after the rest of Bobby’s alibi, Nate Harris, a criminal judge he talked to at the party, and finds that (1) Harris, hopeful of a job on the federal bench, doesn’t want to tell the cops he was smoking weed with this kid; and (2) doggone if Harris isn’t Anthony Quintana’s friend and client as well. It’s a lucky thing that Angela and the judge give Gail and Anthony grounds for endless skirmishes, because the real suspects are a dull lot: Roger’s gold-digging widow Nikki; his parents Claire and Porter (the stuffy company president); Porter’s brother Dub (director of sales) and his wife Elizabeth; Dub’s and Liz’s children Sean and Diane (the only Cresswell with an ounce of decency, outsiders maintain); and Claire’s nephew, low-end art dealer Jack Pascoe. Longtime fans will know enough to forget the family’s dueling alibis and canned secrets, which recall Agatha Christie at her weariest, and focus on Gail and Anthony as they revisit the gender battles of the ’70s —or the Neanderthal Era.

Sadly, the killer’s revealed just as the lovers have resolved their differences. The last thirty pages might as well be blank.

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-525-94542-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

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THE GIVER OF STARS

Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.

Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She’s just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library—an initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery. Margery doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn’t believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.

A love letter to the power of books and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-56248-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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