RICH, RADIANT SLAUGHTER by Orania Papazoglou


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Sweet, Savage Death (1984) extracted substantial amusement from the world of ""category romance"" writers, and the resulting mystery/comedy was fairly fresh. Since then, however, Papazoglou and her sleuth--tall journalist/novelist Patience ""Pay"" McKenna--have been straining for laughs, and this fourth blend of farce, suspense, and soap-opera is the weakest thus far. Pay is now one of several authors taking part in the ""National Book Drive for Family Shelters,"" a multi-city tour organized by compulsive do-gooder Evelyn Kleig (a book publicist). But the group's appearance in Baltimore is marred somewhat when--at a champagne book party--a local matron is found dead under the book-signing table. Furthermore, tour organizer Evelyn disappears, soon turning up dead in a car trunk--to the horror of her new suitor, eccentric billionaire Jon Lowry (who is underwriting the tour). So Pay, who herself starts receiving death-threats, has to wonder which of the writers-on-tour might be a psycho-killer: boozy womanizer Christopher Brand; prim Cartland-type Tempesta Stewart; or maybe even earthy octogenarian Amelia Samson. And the motive-stew (a watery one) is thickened a bit when Pay stumbles onto evidence of a seam in the charity biz. Papazoglou's cartoonish characters are a quirky yet charmless crew; the nonstop repartee is forced and unfunny. Moreover, serious concerns (e.g., the likelihood that Pay's pal Phoebe will bear a child with serious birth defects) are tossed into the hectic chatter as well--with queasy results. Overall, then: giddy yet leaden, and primarily for those satisfied by the in-jokey bookworld references.

Pub Date: Dec. 8th, 1988
Publisher: Doubleday