THE STRANGE REINCARNATION OF HENDRIK VERLOOM by Eth Clifford

THE STRANGE REINCARNATION OF HENDRIK VERLOOM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A mildly agreeable mystery, in which someone is playing hoaxes on the tenants in 14-year-old Anna's apartment building and Anna's grandfather, who lives with her and her mother, is seeing a turbaned hypnotist. Through sessions with the hypnotist, Smith-Burton, Grandfather is convinced that he was cursed to kill in one former life and did kill in another, when he was a Tibetan snake charmer and his brother, a holy man, was bitten by one of his snakes. Playing on Grandfather's guilt, Smith-Burton's wife and her boyfriend abscond with the old man's three-thousand-dollar savings. Meanwhile Anna is busy tracking down the innocent hoaxter, who turns out to be another old man in her building, her grandfather's friend and a sweet old guy Anna considers too accommodating for his own good. But these strands don't come together except that Grandfather is affected by both: Through one of the hoaxes he meets a woman he decides to marry in the end. There's a funny scene early on with police-detective Mom disguised as an old woman and a ""rent-a-coffin"" salesman, sent by the hoaxter, at the door; but the hilarity doesn't build. The story is good-natured and painlessly readable, like Clifford's other, recent light mysteries, but never gripping like some of her earlier ones.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1982
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin