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After just two books, London-based literary agent Smith (Friends for Life, 1996) seems to have set some rather firm guidelines for herself: mix a couple of striking women with a few dashing gay men and a sudden murder, then wait for the fireworks to explode. Joanna Lyndhurst, a doctor who at 27 is still trying to find herself, takes center stage in this offbeat thriller. Her ten-year relationship with music-obsessed Sebastian seems to be going nowhere, so she decides to take a much-needed solo vacation in Antigua. She steps off the plane only to be swept up by charismatic art dealer Vincent van de Voorst, who swiftly introduces her to his inner circle of friends, including Vincent’s closeted lover Lowell Brooks, an older, well-bred judge from Boston who’s attracted the attention of several naive female admirers. Merrily Morgenstern, a stylish thirtysomething single New Yorker with a high-profile career in finance and an attitude to match, endears herself to Joanna despite her edge; meanwhile, Cora Louise Ravenel and her 40-year-old daughter Fontaine, proper ladies from Charleston, provide a soothing presence. Quiet, red-haired Jessica, who organizes music festivals for a living and harbors a mysterious past, takes a little longer to pique Joanna’s interest, even though Joanna piques hers. While Joanna is thrilled to find such amusing new friends so quickly, it seems that unpleasantness is bound to erupt: Vincent is found dead in his Amsterdam apartment, and Sebastian is murdered soon after at a concert in New York. No one is exempt from suspicion, and it’s left to Joanna to determine who’s putting on a deadly act. Smith knows how to keep her audience hooked--the murders go unsolved until the bitter end, and her descriptions of deluxe Antiguan excursions will further satisfy all in search of fine-quality entertainment for the beach.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1998
ISBN: 0-446-52238-4
Page count: 368pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1998


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