PANDORA BY HOLLY HOLLANDER by Gene Wolfe

PANDORA BY HOLLY HOLLANDER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fairly straightforward murder mystery from gifted fantasist Wolfe (most recently Castleview, p. 230). Here, narrator and precocious teen-ager Holly Hollander's parents are Harry, a rich lock-manufacturer, and beautiful Elaine, whom Holly dislikes. This year, it is Elaine's turn to provide a special event for the Barton, Illinois, summer fair. She brings home a large antique box, locked and heavy, labeled PANDORA, and arranges for locksmith Larry Lief (Elaine's secret lover) to open the box during the fair. But when he does, the box explodes, killing Larry and two bystanders and injuring onlooker Holly. Whodunit, and why? Eccentric criminologist Aladdin Blue chats with Holly and offers to help her father Harry unravel the mystery. But then someone shoots Holly's Uncle Bert dead in the hospital parking lot; and it emerges that the Pandora explosion was caused by a German WW II cannon shell--and just such a shell until recently resided on Harry's mantel! The police arrest Harry on suspicion of having murdered Larry and Bert and of attempting to murder Elaine. But Holly's convinced that someone's trying to frame Harry--and, a few twists and turns later, none of them particularly surprising--she and Blue expose the real culprit. Often persuasive and appealing, if you don't mind chatty, bubbly teen-age gumshoes--but fans of Wolfe's superior fantasies are likely to regard it askance.

Pub Date: Dec. 19th, 1990
ISBN: 312-85010-7
Publisher: Tor
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