THE MYSTERY HIDEOUT
An author of adult best-sellers attempts to cross over with a routine mystery (first published in Britain in 1976). Izzie's father is trying to raise money to reopen an old film studio--behind the flat where Izzie's friend Mick lives--when word comes that a developer, Norton Wheeler, is seeking permission to raze both the studio and the fiats. Sneaking into the studio, Mick and Izzie spy on a group of tough-talking men with a suitcase of money. Could they be the infamous Disguise Gang, bank robbers who use makeup rather than masks? Then Mick locates Wheeler's house and finds a makeup brash plus a deposit slip from a recently robbed bank; 20 pages later it occurs to him that Wheeler might be connected to the Gang! Comparing robberies to a schedule that a neighbor just happens to have kept of traffic in and out of the studio, Mick reaches the stunning conclusion that the Disguise Gang uses the studio for a hide-out! This less-than-dazzling detective work culminates in a nearly drama-free climax: the bad guys nab Izzie just before they are themselves nabbed by the police. These characters have little individuality, and Follett makes no apparent effort to surprise or challenge readers. A disappointment.