RAINSONG by Phyllis A. Whitney
Kirkus Star


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Another of Whitney's better contemporary chiller-romances, again featuring all those gorgeous domiciles, fine food, and chic duds--plus a perennially scared but quietly brave heroine constantly buzzed by sinister and mysterious events. Hollis Sands of N.Y.C. is a recent widow. Her husband, middle-aged rock idol Ricky, committed suicide--or did he? Hollis wonders, while grieving and reviewing the last months of their September-May marriage. Did Ricky still love her, or was her only value to him in the songs she wrote to revitalize his fading career? And what of actress Carol Caine, whose ""suicide"" was announced shortly before Ricky died? Was Carol pregnant by Ricky; did he send her coral roses just before her death? And why were coral roses in the room where Ricky died? As in Whitney's others, mysteries begin popping and murmuring even before the heroine moves to the major set; in this case, it's Windtop, the Long Island mansion of elderly Geneva Ames, an old flame of Hollis' Dad. On the premises: hostile housekeeper Birdie and an equally grim caretaker, the curiously scarred Luther; botanist Gordon Ames, a Geneva crony; an odd young bearded gardener, Pete Evans, once a high school teacher; and his sister, beautifully groomed Liz Cameron. And Hollis, determined to pursue the matter of Ricky's death, stays on even when the omens get nasty. Her tape recorder plays foul messages; figures vanish on the sweep of lawn, pool, and woods, and through the many doors; there are sounds of someone singing Ricky's music. Furthermore, everyone seems to be holding something back from her. Who was the mysterious ""Mary"" who set fire to part of Windtop and perished? (Or did she?) Why has no one told her that Ricky had once played at Windtop? Who has been leaving threatening messages at her manager's Manhattan apartment? Attempted strangling and murder soon follow--and Hollis will finally face a mad villain high on a windy, snowy rooftop. Generous with clues and calamities, Whitney drums up suspense at a delightfully frantic pace: old fans--and new ones--can dig in with total confidence.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1983
Publisher: Doubleday