A STROKE OF DEATH by Josephine Bell


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Concocting a shifty little tale that's more study-of-evil than mystery, Bell sends one of her ingratiating National Health therapists to the aid of a wheelchaired, speechless old man, presumably being tended but perhaps being starved by his many-faced ""daughter-in-law.' After the old man is removed to a seaside resort where he plunges to his death from a pier (half-accident, half-murder), the ruthless villainess comes more and more out in the open, nervily disposing of her accomplice, then moving on--aided by a gullible social worker (""such a nice client')--to schemes in other towns. Without any real suspense about whodunit or why, the modest but unflagging appeal here is in watching, obliquely, the anti, heroine's rise and fall and in Bell's neatly exaggerated vignettes of gossip, incompetence, and good intentions at work in the British welfare bureaucracy's small-town branches.

Pub Date: Dec. 23rd, 1977
Publisher: Walker