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Austrian setting and CIA/KGB complications notwithstanding, this is formula modern-gothic all the way--as Kate Paterson flies to the Tyrol to visit the ski-area grave of her lover Matt, reportedly killed accidentally while climbing. Kate finds the grave easily enough--but why do the ski-lodge owners behave so strangely with her? And why does a masked skier try to frighten her while she's tobogganing with Matt's climbing pal, amorous Stephen? And why does someone search her room? Obviously Kate's curiosity about Matt's death is making her some enemies--not to mention the unwanted attentions of surly, smug professor Jon Becket, who is so obnoxious that he must turn out to be Mr. Right. He does indeed--but only after it's revealed that Matt was a spy (""what on earth was Matt--the CIA--doing in a little country like Austria that minds its own business and makes a living out of tourism?"") and that a nice newlywed couple at the lodge are KGB (""Yes, I'm a communist and I work for what I believe in--and that's not peaceful coexistence with the CIA!""). Kate gets locked in a hut, falls into snow, and survives an avalanche (with Jon's brave little son Bruno)--and the gothic-suspense audience will certainly survive this harmless, awkward, occasionally perky contribution to the genre.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Scribners