MISS MELVILLE RETURNS by Evelyn E. Smith

MISS MELVILLE RETURNS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the author's debut novel (Miss Melville Regrets), Susan Melville, unheralded artist and assassin-for-hire, had style and panache. Now, her paintings are in demand at high prices; no longer a practicing criminal, she's lost both the style and the panache. Teetering on the edge of big-time money, Susan and agent Jill Turkel, recommended to her by museum director Hal Courtenay, attend the opening of the Demarnay gallery, showing second-rate works by one Rafael Hoffman, who's dead of a heroin overdose before the evening ends. Then gallery owner Roland Demarnay is killed soon after, just before a meeting he'd requested with Susan. In the background, meanwhile, hover Hoffman's statuesque widow Lupe Montoya; Spanish dress-designer Baltasar; dead artist Darius Moffatt, whose work is handled by Jill; and Andrew Mackay, an investigator for some unnamed agency. Plot, action (what little there is) and inane chatter (of which there's plenty) ramble all over the lot, to no cohesive purpose. Ferreting out the unsurprising drug scam and an equally predictable art racket, Susan disappoints by turning out to be just one more nosy, middle-aged amateur sleuth with time on her hands.

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 1987
Publisher: Donald Fine