ANTIPODES by Maria-Antonia Oliver


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The ever-interesting International Women's Crime Series this time features a Major-can p.i. transplanted to Australia, Lonia Gulu (Study in Lilac, not reviewed), who meets bubbly, naive Cristina Segura on the plane ride to Australia, where the young girl will stay at a toney residence/school. When next they meet, however, Cristina is plaything to a thug and pretends not to know L•nia--then slips her a letter to mail to her father back in Majorca. Curious, L•nia later attempts to track down Cristina, but she's too late: Cristina is dead of an overdose. What happened and why didn't her family help her? L•nia's sleuthing reveals a whiteslavery racket operating between Majorca and Melbourne, fronted by the Gardner Travel Agency (down under, where another murder lakes place) and the Happy Life Marriage Agency (in the Balearics). Meanwhile, Cristina's mom receives regular but brief postcards from her dead daughter (forged), and Cristina's uncle (mom's lover) has her signature (also forged) on a property transfer. Her dad, alas, died for love--as did her uncle for her mom. Back in Australia, Henry, a p.i. L•nia hired to sort out details there while she covered Majorca, has a major surprise in store--and a neat twist ending to the story. Scenic, vibrant, and different, with a gutsy heroine, complicated plotting, and a sad/funny ending. Staunchly original and worth a try.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Seal Press