PERISH IN JULY by Mollie Hardwick


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The fifth chapter in the lives of Rodney and Doran Chelmarsh begins with the burial of Rodney's crippled daughter Helena (Uneaseful Death, etc.). Rodney is now the vicar at small, shabby St. Leonard's, while Doran's antique shop is being run largely by her Welsh partner Howell, leaving her free to tend small son Kit. A plan to raise funds for the falling-down bell tower of St. Leonard's with a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Yeoman of the Guard makes the appearance of Doran's friend Tiggy a godsend. A polished, beautiful finishing-school product and cordon bleu cook, Tiggy must be the world's most elegant au pair. Now on vacation, she agrees to be Kit's nanny while Doran stage-manages the play. Choleric but capable Max Johnston is to direct--his opera singer wife Amy will be one of the leads while Rodney stars as Jack Point. Then the Chelmarshes' pushy, showy neighbor Paula French, furious at being rejected for a lead, storms out of auditions and is found gruesomely murdered some time later. Her nebbishy, grief-numbed husband Evan temporarily moves in with the Chelmarshes while Tiggy moves on. Her place is taken by Howell's formidable supermom Gwenllian, who also manages to save Doran from a fate like Paula's. Not much mystery here, and precious little detection. But lots of charm, antiques lore, literate talk, and oddball characters--some of them from previous stories. Above all, there's Gilbert and Sullivan, whose fans will adore Perish in July. Others may find it a bit of a yawn.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's