Somebody should warn law-enforcement personnel against vacations. Poppy Rice’s escape to quaint, idyllic Block Island turns predictably into something much darker than her FBI work back in Washington when she discovers the body of ugly duckling Dana Ganzi, 17, in the crossroads just a stone’s throw from the quiet B&B where Poppy’s staying with her sweetie, ATF field advisor Joe Barnow. The girl must have been given some bad drugs, mutters Demerol-addicted Dr. Brisbane, and certainly Dana, who’s been incarcerated along with two dozen unlucky plus-size misses in Camp Guinevere, had every motive for looking for trouble. When a postmortem finds the dead girl’s system as clean of drugs as her body seems to be of external wounds, however, and any theories of a fatal accident are quashed by the death three days later of her fellow-camper Rachel Shaw, the mystery—which Poppy’s decided to work on with sozzled Francis X. Fitzgerald, of the Rhode Island State Police—heats up. How and why were the two inoffensive junior league fat-farmers killed, and why did they rip their own clothes off before they died? Poppy amuses herself in crossing swords with Camp Guinevere’s slippery, smiling director, Blair Irwin. But it’s no joke when Brisbane-stoked rumors of plague clamp the island under quarantine and threaten her with a vacation that may never end—unless she’s carried out in her own body bag.
Ingenious stuff, though both Poppy and her supporting cast shine less brightly than in Love Her Madly (2002).