DANGEROUS TO KNOW by Barbara Taylor Bradford


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The tenth romantic leviathan from Bradford (Everything to Gain, 1994, etc.), now with more than a bit of mystery thrown in. What could have caused the suicide (or was it murder?) of world-renowned philanthropist Sebastian Locke, head of Locke Industries? Four narrators, intimately involved with the case, agonize and confide in handsome places in New York, Connecticut, and city-and-wine-country France. Vivienne, a journalist and one of Sebastian's five former wives, had lunch with the handsome billionaire just days before his death. Then he'd seemed sublimely happy as he announced his plans to remarry, this time to a research scientist in Africa. Vivienne and Sebastian's own divorce had been amicable; she'd fallen in love with Sebastian, then her mother's lover, when she was 12 and had married him ten years later. And even post-divorce Vivienne still loved Sebastian, though his children, Jack and Luciana, were obsessed at opposite poles: Jack's early resentment of his father (Jack adored Vivienne's mother, killed in a cellar-stairs fall) was ruining Sebastian's love life; and Luciana, though worshiping her father, still chafed at what she considered her minor role in Locke Industries. All are baffled and bewildered by the death. It isn't until Vivienne, in Paris, hears the shocking tale of dying, elderly Zoe, the Countess of Grenaille (n‚e Mary Ellen Rafferty of New Jersey), that the mystery of Sebastian's demise is solved. By end, calm and sweet reason prevail for all the disaffected. Bradford is ill at ease in the mystery frame: Her red herrings are whale-size, her solution enterprisingly cuckoo--a Rube Goldberg invention. But, still, all the Bradford stylistic pontoons--garrulous smoothies holding forth in luxurious settings--keep this afloat for the waiting fans.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: HarperCollins