GOOSEFOOT by Patrick McGinley


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An odd, fitfully engaging, ultimately disappointing second novel by the author of the splendid Bogmail--who writes a breezy tale about an Irish country girl's amorous experiments in Dublin (and back home), then jarringly switches over into standard psycho-killer suspense. Patricia Teeling is a dandy heroine: virginal but saucy, a recently graduated Bachelor of Agricultural Science, the protÉgÉe of her modern, farm-owning Uncle Lar (who's scorned by Patricia's pitiful, old-fashioned parents). But when Lar offers Patricia the management--and eventual ownership--of his farm, she decides instead to sample city life for a while: up to Dublin she goes, taking a teaching job, sharing a flat with tart-talking Monica, a comrade in virginity. And for a goodly while this becomes an easygoing, unfocused, but often-amusing portrait of Patricia's new life--as she develops a justifiable hatred for the school's pompous headmaster, deflects a fellow-teacher suitor (who then takes up with Monica), and starts spending platonic evenings with married neighbor Bernard, a miserable, role-playing writer. Then, however, Bernard's wife is found stabbed to death, with Bernard the prime suspect; so, while continuing to see Bernard (despite ominous warnings from a handsome cop), Patricia begins to become somewhat frazzled--especially when she receives elegant obscene phone-calls (""I live for your rural airs in the miasmatic cloaca that is Dublin""). And, after a disappointing visit back home--roughly ribald, near-consummated sex with two different farm-type suitors--Patricia returns to find Bernard a suicide . . . and the real psycho-killer (whose identity will be no surprise to Agatha Christie veterans) stalking her. A strange, talented hybrid, then, with McGinley's elaborate, pub-style dialogue again a plus--but unlikely to fully please either the woman-coming-of-age audience (thanks to the grisly, cop-out ending) or the black-comic-thriller readership (thanks to the thin, hackneyed crime-plot).

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1982
Publisher: Dutton