THE COUNSELLOR HEART by Pauline Glen Winslow


Email this review


Scotland Yard's Merle Capricorn (The Witch Hill Murder, Coppergold, etc.) has two cases on his mind here, and, as usual when that happens in mysteries, they'll connect up. . . however arbitrarily. His official case is the mutilation-murder of a ""Fawn"" (a British, sleazier version of a Playboy Bunny) named Muffy Mirro. But his heart belongs to the kidnap case of Mrs. Bridey Lawdon, much-beloved wife of a cop; terrorists have grabbed her (mistakenly thinking she was her famous sister-in-law) and are making the usual demands. So Merle's pulse begins to quicken when his investigation of the murder leads to the fringes of terrorism: the son of the Arab financier behind the Fawn Clubs was a suitor of Muffy's and is an Islamic fanatic (an arms cache is found in the financier's basement); Muffy's acquaintances have included some suspicious international types. None of this, however, actually leads to the rescue of Bridey; that's accomplished because Merle agrees to consort with a notorious IRA figure (Bridey's beloved cousin) who has inside scoops on all sorts of terrorism. And finally there's a corny finale where dear, just-rescued Bridey (whom we've seen in snatches of captivity throughout) sacrifices herself for one of the terrorists. Some nice moments along the way (the sleazy Fawn scene is well-done), but this is Winslow's weakest work yet--over-busy, distressingly sentimental, sometimes tedious (in subplots about Merle's eccentric Aunties). A murky departure for a writer who's best in clean-focused, traditional formats.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's