FATAL DIAGNOSIS by Mary Kittredge


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After two novels featuring writer-sleuth Charlotte Kent (Dead and Gone, etc.), the author has a new heroine--rich, society-bred, energetic Edwina Crusoe, soon to become Director of Nursing at New Haven's Chelsea Memorial Hospital. The crisis that calls Edwina back from vacation is a formidable one--the murders, in the hospital, of lab technician Helene Motovalli and volunteer aide Grace Savarin, a protÉgÉe of Edwina's. Helene was working on blood and tissue samples in a court case involving nice year-old Hallie Dietz, whose parentage is claimed by Bill and Jane Claymore. They're convinced she was born to them but switched in the nursery for the liver-diseased baby Jill, who went home with Jane and has since died. The seemingly naive and unprepossessing Dietzes, Oliver and Margaret, are fighting the slick, sophisticated Claymores all the way, but blood and tissue samples and relevant records have disappeared--and soon after so does young Hallie. Meanwhile, the author weighs in with a barrage of technical treatises on the ways heredity can be tracked in the lab, along with one on liver disease. At the same time, Edwina does some undercover searching of medical records and eventually, in the midst of a contrived hostage situation, comes up with a strikingly undermotivated killer. An easy, literate writing style is lost in the choppy, confusing narrative and plethora of hospital detail--not all of it relevant; some of it downright unpleasant. Strictly for those attracted to hospital backgrounds.

Pub Date: July 19th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's