DOLLY IS DEAD by J.S. Borthwick


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Maine's English teacher/part-time sleuth Sarah Deane, now married to Dr. Alex McKenzie (The Bridled Groom, 1994, etc.), is once again involved in her neighbors' affairs--this time, the affairs of the mostly ne'er-do-well Gattlings and the aristocratic Beaugards. The bodies of two Gattling brothers and Dolly, daughter of Elena Beaugard, have washed up on the shore at Little Cove, with foul play suspected in all three cases by Mike Laaka and George Fitts of the state police. Dolly, a tireless do-gooder ran the family's extensive money affairs and expansive waterfront estate for her frail, widowed mother. Also in the household at Great Oaks are: Dolly's sister Masha, an accomplished musician; brother Eliot and his wife, Caroline, with their own estate close by; crotchety Uncle Lenox, a retired academic; and another daughter--flaky, twice-divorced Alice--along with housekeeper Vivian Lavender. Soon into the investigation, though, Dolly begins to lose her halo; another Gattling is killed; Caroline is put into a psychiatric ward; Alice's tiresome teenaged son Jonathan is injured; and there's a heavily detailed winter bird-watch, plus an absurd chase ending at L.L. Bean. What's missing is a coherent plot or convincing motivation. Sarah's nice enough and, but, my, she does run on. Strictly for readers who can't get enough of that Maine lore and landscape.

Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 1995
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: St. Martin's