A TOUCH OF PANIC by L.R. Wright

A TOUCH OF PANIC

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Wright's novels about Staff Sergeant Karl Alberg of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are never routine procedurals. Here, Alberg and his detachment tangle with (1) a rash of picketers protesting such injustices as cabdriver Winnifred Gartner's slovenly house and yard, Keith Hellyer's mistreatment of his estranged wife, Naomi, and the possibility that the Mounties owe crazy old Reginald Dutton 40 years' worth of rent; (2) a series of burglaries that have netted the perpetrator, among other treasures, a telescope, 50 cans of tomatoes, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the thief also cleaned one particularly filthy kitchen); (3) the (drug-related?) killing of young Nathan Kijinski; and (4) the portended abduction of Alberg's live-in lover, librarian Cassandra Mitchell, by a determined suitor who seems to be using John Fowles's The Collector as a pillow book. Since it's Wright at the helm, plotlines crisscross in unexpectedly piquant ways: The thief falls in love with stressed-out Naomi, whose reluctant landlady, Winnifred, ends up taking her side with unexpected fervor against Keith, who has connections of his own to the other cases. None of these links have the scary inevitability of those in Alberg's last appearance (Prized Possessions, 1993), and Cassandra's ordeal, when push finally comes to shove, is oddly perfunctory. Delightfully offbeat as ever, though you keep suspecting Wright could reveal much more about each of her grotesques if she hadn't burdened herself with all the others. (Mystery Book Club alternate selection)

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1994
ISBN: 0-684-19672-7
Page count: 271pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1994




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