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By the author of The Last Summer of lnnocence--a passel of others under another name--more flustered domestic/romantic mesa, spiced here by steamy worry about a sadist and murderer on the prowl. It all takes place in present-day city and country England. When Aline Marlowe was 11, something terrifying and ""indecent"" happened to her on the marshes near her home (""Hazeling""). Now, even as an adult, Aline finds that the face of the man who assaulted her is indistinct. Surely it couldn't have been her beloved stepfather, artist Michael, whom police had questioned after the event. (Or could it?) For some time now, Aline has been estranged from Michael because he married beautiful Zena only three weeks after her mother's death. Alone in London, working happily in antiques, Aline is still nagged by a recurring nightmare about the attack on the marshes; but, worse, there are scary telephone calls, and when she's on a vacation in Spain, a man is spotted taking photographs of her. Meanwhile, Aline is courted by two men--reporter Nick Winters, with whom sex is therapeutic and okay; and Piers Drayton, with whom sex is fantastic (""desperate, primeval, tearing""). She marries Piers, who turns out to be more than a tad moody and even turns on Gaslight suspicions concerning Aline's sanity. Soon, though, Aline will discover odd doings at Hazeling (Zena tends dolls in the attic and possibly sports some bats in the belfry); stumbles onto murders past and present; and, at last, faces her attacker of years ago, who'd muffed his first chance to snuff her out.... Middling suspense with preposterous people, but the author does tease out a mild interest in the identity of the marsh mauler. Third-string Holt.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1992
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's