Compromising Positions in today's ``family''-oriented, sleazier-than-ever Tinseltown—as a discontented Hollywood wife (and filmmaker in her own right) plays amateur shamus, mostly for laughs, and uncovers kinkiness and nastiness galore in big-time moviedom households. Lucy Freers—Oscar-nominated animator, wife of a no-longer-hot producer, mother of preteen Chloe—becomes the wrong kind of mini- celebrity when the body of stunning neighbor Julia Prentice, a no- talent ex-actress married to an aging sitcom megastar, surfaces in Lucy's pool. Worse yet, since Julia was known to be a voracious adulterer, suspicion falls on both Lucy's sexy husband Kit (who had caught Julia's eye) and Lucy herself. So, to clear the family name, she starts sleuthing, digging up Hollywood dirt—like Julia's past as an S&M call girl, her secret visits to L.A.'s most exclusive plastic surgeon (with an unlisted office number), and her social- climbing rivalry with elegant Summer Rossner (wife of an Ovitz-like super-agent) over the leadership of a kids' charity, the Magic Wand Foundation. In no time, naturally, Lucy's being followed and shot at. She also flirts with adultery, of course, given that Kit (who's been unfaithful and neglectful) is away on location and a hunky screenwriter is renting the house next door. Before the predictable showdown with the killer, Lucy finds another corpse, witnesses a suicide, and bonds—sort of—with frumpy Detective Teresa Show, LAPD (who dons a Carmen Miranda-esque getup to accompany Lucy to the $1500-a-plate Magic Wand gala). The mystery here is middling Colombo-level, with unsavory details that seem more tired than shocking. Still, Lucy narrates with edgy, appealing zest, and Maracotta (Everything We Wanted, 1984) name-drops and roman-Ö-clefs her way through the New Hollywood—from the parenting craze to the real-estate game—with a neat satirical spin that only occasionally tips over into slapstick.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-688-14498-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1996

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One of her best. Poirot, again on vacation, falls foul of a murder on board a Nile river steamer, followed by two successive murders, obviously connected. A sophisticated group, an ingenious plot, clever deduction, swift-paced narrative. A little romance on the side lends glamour. First rate entertainment.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 1938

ISBN: 0062073559

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1938

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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