THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER by Marc Behm

THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Behm's morbid fancy for shady ladies continues, with the completely vile Queen of the Night (1977) succeeded here by a female Bluebeard butcher. Her name is Joanna Eris, and she tends to marry her men before killing them, preferably on the first honeymoon night. How we know all this is thanks to the omnipresence of the ""Eye,"" a private shamus (called in originally to trace a missing heir) who discovers Joanna's homicidal penchants but doesn't blow the whistle on her. The ""Eye,"" you see, has a daughter he's never met (a bitter divorce, with all the usual tough-private-eye crying-on-the-inside clich‚s); and Joanna, this murdering virago, might just be his long-lost. . . . So the ""Eye"" throws over his job and lives off his savings as he follows Joanna around, criss-crossing the country countless times, keeping track of her innumerable aliases, wigs, and modi operandi. He even becomes her guardian angel--he's always there nearby, on ledges, under windows, hoping that she kills cleanly and gets away. Behm's basic idea here has possibilities, but it doesn't fill a novel: his shuttling across the country after Joanna would give even a travel agent headaches, with a pace that's kept over-busy to disguise a narrative interest that has palled early on. Repetitious, fairly depraved and skanky stuff, then; titillating for a short while, finally a hyperactive bore.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Dial