IN A FAMILY WAY by James Calder


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A Frisco filmmaker again turns detective, this time to solve the murder of his young niece.

Documentary “camera jockey” and sometime sleuth Bill Damen (About Face, 2003, etc.) attends the gala 60th-birthday party of his overbearing uncle Cole Claypool, a wealthy industrialist, on high alert. Cole’s son, Bill’s cousin Chris, has called Bill for advice and help in finding his young daughter Margy, on an outing with Ulla, her nanny, but not heard from for several hours. Official worry is premature, but Chris and his wife Janet, who lost their first daughter Helen six years earlier, are understandably extra-vigilant. The police disrupt Cole’s party to arrest Chris for Margy’s murder, but Ulla is nowhere to be found. Cole suspects a Chinese triad involved in a pending business deal, but the appearance of the rather creepy Dr. Sabell at Margy’s autopsy sends Bill in a different direction. Sabell runs a large and suspicious fertility clinic that, Bills learns, aided in the conception of both Helen and Margy. Many unanswered questions, the possibility of cloning among them, underlie these blessed events. Bill’s dynamic new assistant Clem(entine) proves invaluable but pushes all his buttons. When he’s not thinking of wringing her neck, he’s grappling with his aroused libido.

Calder’s ambitious third gets slack and repetitive in places but marks a big step forward in depth, laying a nice foundation for future installments.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8118-4725-X
Page count: 422pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2005


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