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In last year's Killing Mr. Griffin, a disturbed and evil high school student led four classmates in kidnapping and inadvertently killing a strict teacher. Here the mad instigator is a new teacher and adviser to the selective, nationally affiliated service club Daughters of Eve; and the instruments of her revenge against males are the club's ten members, whose small Michigan town seems to have been bypassed by the winds of women's liberation. There's plenty for the girls to get worked up about: at home, one does all the afterschool babysitting and housework while her older brothers run free; one has a wife-beating father; the money the club raises for a girl's athletic program is used by the coach to buy boys' equipment; and the popular boyfriend of one member (and brother of another) ""screws"" and stands up a third, a pathetic fat girl who then attempts suicide. And worked up they get, first attacking the offending boy and shaving his head, then smashing up the chemistry lab when a member's science project is legitimately rejected, and wrecking the assistant principal's office when he goes along with the coach. And for a last-page finale, the wife-beater's daughter, with her mother in hospital after a particularly bad beating, smashes her father's head with an iron skillet. Despite slickness and stereotypes, Killing Mr. Griffin--and another of Duncan's group-guilt numbers, I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973)--had a good share of seductive suspense; this is just manipulated melodrama. Duncan takes care to maintain an ideological balance with her offending males and her twisted feminist, but both sides are too heavily drawn to hold up.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1979
Publisher: Little, Brown