THE SHORTEST DAY by Jane Langton

THE SHORTEST DAY

KIRKUS REVIEW

It's Christmastime in Cambridge's Harvard Square, but goodwill is in short supply. Busy, warmhearted stage director Sarah Bailey is once again running the annual Christmas Revels--a complex, multifaceted production involving morris dancing, drama, song, and scores of volunteers. Sarah is married to insanely, secretly jealous Morgan, a respected ornithologist who's embarked on a program of eliminating, one by one, the men he thinks might steal his wife--the first of whom is folksinger Henry Shady, struck by Morgan's car in a seemingly unavoidable fatal accident. Mary Kelly, wife of ex-detective, now Harvard teacher Homer (Divine Inspiration, 1993, etc.), observes the incident and is troubled by doubts about it. Meanwhile, a ragged group of homeless, under the direction of self-aggrandizing activist Palmer Nifto, has set up a tent town on an overpass beside Harvard Yard. Palmer works to extract money, property, and promises from Harvard officials, making sure the media is ever-present. As Morgan's hit list expands and two more cohorts die, Sarah's burgeoning suspicions are reinforced, along with those of Homer Kelly--just in time to save the last prospective victim. Little detection, little suspense--but a plentitude of mini- lectures on ornithology, astronomy, and Harvard's architecture and history. This time out, the incisive terseness of the author's straightforward illustrations is nowhere present. A loquacious narrative that's only fitfully absorbing.
Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-670-84710-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1995




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