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Babson's antic imagination runs unfettered in this outing, set in a village near London called Brimful Coffers. Mystery writer Lucinda Lucas has lived there for six months, cajoled into buying her cottage by novelist Dorian King, and swayed as well as by the relative freedom it provided for her cats (believe it!) Had-I and But-Known. Dorian has also inveigled other writers of the genre into ownership--a veritable enclave that includes Lucinda's close friend Fredericka (Freddie) Carlson and Lancelot Dalrymple, a.k.a. Macho Magee, the name of the hero of his tough-guy stories. Macho owns cat Roscoe, a frequent visitor at Lucinda's. Others in residence are acerbic book critic Plantagenet Sutton; magazine editor Gemma Duquette; Gemma's noisy, bickering American neighbors Karla and Jack Jackley; Betty Alvin, secretary-maid to Dorian; and Gordie Crane, all-around odd-job man. The nasty incidents start with Jackley's not-too damaging fall into a bonfire at a Guy Fawkes party and Gemma's brush with food poisoning; matters turn eerie, though, when Lucinda finds pages from her typewriter in which her fictional sister sleuths are plotting her demise, and then take a really serious turn with the deaths of Plantagenet and visiting author Ondine van Zeet, along with a near miss for Dorian, whose motive for literary in-gathering proves more crass than aesthetic. The solution to it all arrives without benefit of any detecting skills and with nary a policeman in sight. Veteran Babson (Break a Leg, Darlings, p. 96, etc.) may have earned her self-indulgent funning. And her faithful, animal-adoring followers may be entranced. Newcomers unbeguiled by icky-poo, however, deserve fair warning.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1997
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's