Everybody hates Gwyneth Gilpatric, and why not? The anchor of KEY television’s Hourglass program has brains, looks, success, wealth, power—most of them handed to her on a platter. And some of her closest intimates have reasons of their own. Her plastic surgeon, Dr. Leonard Costello, is upset because she may spread the news of his Parkinson’s. Kitzi Malcolm is jealous of the long, long hours her husband Joel, Gwyneth’s executive producer, spends with his star. Hourglass ex-producer Mike Schultz resents the fall he took for Gwyneth’s refusal to reshoot her standup footage on a drug story that revealed a leading informant standing in the background—an informant whose life Gwyneth’s monster ratings did nothing to save. So it’s no surprise when Gwyneth is tossed off the penthouse terrace at her own New Year’s Eve party. As New York’s finest sweat to reduce the suspect list from the size of the Manhattan White Pages, Hourglass’s wholesome new associate producer Laura Walsh, who’s not even working on the murder, discovers two unsettling facts: Gwyneth was somehow linked to a child’s death 30 years ago aboard the Palisades Park’s roller-coaster Laura’s alcohol-ruined father once ran; and Laura herself has been named Gwyneth’s principal legatee. The resulting mystery is about as subtle as the Anvil Chorus, and its unconnected subplots make it considerably less tidy.
Clark’s third trip to the KEY newsroom (Do You Promise Not to Tell?, 1999, etc.) suggests that all those Type A’s are more in need of therapy and police protection than further sequels.