CAMBIO BAY by Kate Wilhelm


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Portentous fantasy set on the California coast, from the stylish veteran of many genres (Children of the Wind, Smart House, The Dark Door, etc.). To Miss Luisa's guest house in Cambio Bay (""bay of changes"") are drawn an odd assortment of characters--fugitive Iris and her perceptive, mute daughter Bonnie; folklorist Harold; realtor Carolyn; bereaved Boise--and here circumstances conspire to detain them. An assassin pursues Iris because of something that Bonnie may have witnessed; Carolyn can't puzzle out the confusing, possibly supernatural architectural logic of the guest house, gets scared and flees, but then reluctantly returns to warn Iris. As the more mystical characters frequently remind us, this is a time of changes; Miss Luisa's guest house is actually an Indian spirit house, where Iris, Carolyn, Harold, Boise, and Bonnie receive spiritual healing. Eventually they grow strong enough to team up and defeat Iris' would-be assassin, helped out by several mysterious persons and events involving music, folk tales, mud slides, and earthquakes. Thin, pallid stuff, deficient in both plot and incident, though given a superficial allure by Wilhelm's considerable skill and patience. Still, this isn't one of her better, more involving efforts.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's