THE J. ALFRED PRUFROCK MURDERS by Corinne Holt Sawyer

THE J. ALFRED PRUFROCK MURDERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Four old gals play Nancy Drew at their California retirement home--in a talky hodge-podge of lame, cutesy-poo comedy, featherbrain plotting, and incongruously grim reflection on old age. At fairly posh Camden-sur-Mer, there's an elderly quartet of dissimilar chums. (Sawyer's evidently been watching TV's Golden Girls.) Angela Benbow is a saucy, vain, slightly nasty gossip; Caledonia Wingate is a hearty, take-charge sort; Stella Austin is a reserved Boston-Brahmin type; and Nan Church is a roly-poly, giggly ex-actress (whose husband is near-terminal with Alzheimer's disease). So when ""Sweetie"" Gilfillan, a retired librarian, is found stabbed to death, the foursome--urged on by big Caledonia--starts poking around, sure that the police will miss important clues. In no time, they establish that Sweetie--a bland, quiet sort--was actually a vicious blackmailer who had found out the deep, dark secrets of assorted Camden-sur-Mer residents. But neither the secrets, nor the clues, nor any of the motives are even faintly plausible. The final surprise-twists are predictable nonsense. And the attempts at farce--Angela is the group's bumbler--are merely embarrassing. Readers undemanding enough for the prevailing inanity here are unlikely to appreciate graphic descriptions of the indignities of advanced Alzheimer's. Conversely, the audience for serious geriatric drama probably won't tolerate Sawyer's giddy, if well-meaning, amateurishness.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1988
Publisher: Donald Fine