FAINT PRAISE by Ellen Hart


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Everybody agrees that TV personality Arno Heywood, tastefully attired in a gray silk blouse, navy skirt, and pearl earrings, threw himself from the 24th story of Minneapolis's Foshay Tower. But his daughter Kelly, manager of Arno's Linden Lofts property, insists he was murdered. How do you make someone commit suicide--even someone as tormented as a cross-dressing former TV clown obsessed with losing his job? Jane Lawless, called in by her friend Roz Barrie after a break-in at Roz's own Linden Loft, is sure the intruder and killer, if they're the same person, must have been somebody close to Arno with a key to the Lofts. But since Arno has rented to his antiquer nephew, his unbalanced best friend, and his psychologist lover--in addition to the daughter who inherits the whole pile of bricks--that doesn't narrow the field. Nor do rumors of a voyeur stalking the building, or a big-scale drug operation, or an old grudge that's already led to the murder of a gay lawyer; the mysteries pile up so relentlessly that you'll just have to wait to see who gets caught without a seat in the game of murderous chairs. Despite the loose ends, Jane's sixth case is denser and more deeply felt than A Small Sacrifice (1994), with the most drolly understated rescue of the heroine from certain death you've ever seen.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Seal