STAR FIGHT by Phyllis A. Whitney


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 In this (for Whitney) overly talky and cluttered mystery/suspense novel, set in a scenic area of western North Carolina, a young widow from California sets out to discover the true story of two deaths decades apart. Lauren Castle's late husband, filmmaker Jim, has been accidentally killed while working on a documentary concerning the career of fabled actor Roger Brandt, who still lives on beautiful Lake Lure. In 1938, the movie idol had made a film--as well as a child--with his lover, the lovely Victoria Fraser. The child was raised elsewhere, and Victoria, presumably distraught that Roger would stay forever with his wife, Camilla, committed suicide. Or did she? Lauren, meanwhile, has told no one except former boyfriend Gordon (now a forest ranger) that she is the granddaughter of Victoria and Roger. Now in North Carolina to sleuth, Lauren pinballs here and there, picking up bits of info and chatting with: blunt but chummy Gretchen Fraser, Victoria's sister; Gordon's mother Finella, who's heavily into making products from the kudzu vine; Natalie Brandt, Roger's daughter, an artist who has painted a spooky picture of a UFO-like object landing on the local mountain peak; Camilla, who introduces Lauren to Victoria's old dresser, Betty; and hirsute Ty, Gretchen's brother, who is mighty strange and beats drums in the wild. At the close, when all's made plain, there's a climb to what might be a sky-high grave. This time the story seems crowded, and Whitney has not allowed her mob of suspects space and time; readers may feel overwhelmed by the plethora of chat and surfeit of chatterers. But even the best of the pros can lob one into the underbrush--not that Whitney's following will care. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for Fall)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-517-59499-4
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993


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