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A carefully plotted whodunit--with an old-fashioned love of train schedules, photographic clues, and a closed group of suspects. On the day he's released from prison, Bill Holt heads directly for the Greystone boardroom to make his intentions clear to the directors: 16 years ago one of them framed him for the murders of his childhood sweetheart Alison and private detective Allsopp, and he is determined to find out who and why. Was it Alison's many-years-older husband, chairman Bryant? Public-school charmer Charles Cartwright? American-born executive Jeff Stone or his wife Thelma? Holt's cousin Cassie, a secret lesbian? Or Holt's ex-wife Wendy, the only one to steadfastly insist he was innocent? The board, of course, treats him as quite mad, but young Jan Wentworth, a town girl who grew up to be a newspaperwoman, believes in him and otters her help. Together, they untangle business lies, marital relationships, passionate liaisons, and the real nature of the dead investigator Allsopp: he was a blackmailer. What's more, they discover a piece of new evidence that will get the case reopened, but not before Bill brutalizes Jan, they part, then tentatively pair up again for the final boardroom j'accuse scene. Alternating present-day and past sequences gets a tad unwieldy, and--except for Bill, Jan and Cassie--the characters could have used a jolt of vigor. Fine job, however, in making Bill and Jan's problematic relationship believable and in creating plausible clues. All in all, a neat amalgam of psychology and detection for thoughtful readers, from the English author of An Evil Hour and A Perfect Match.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1988
Publisher: St. Martin's