JULIAN SOLO by Shelly Rueben


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Billed as a mystery, this one's actually a hell-hath-no-fury yam of uncommon tedium. Julian Solo is a brilliant scientist who meets and falls in love with young narrator Matthew Wylie's beautiful widowed mother, Cynthia. Having died and been resuscitated after an accident, Solo develops a consuming interest in suspended animation, and soon derives a potion for producing same in laboratory animals. But his unstable secretary, Melanie Graice, secretly in love with Solo, seethes with jealous rage when Solo marries Cynthia. Melanie begins to tamper with Solo's correspondence; thus his research goes awry. Then Cynthia falls ill with a mysterious, debilitating nervous disorder and, indeed, appears to be dying. Solo redoubles his efforts to perfect the suspended-animation formula (he tests it on himself) so as to prolong Cynthia's life--perhaps a cure will be found. But the vengeful Melanie tampers with Solo's mail; therefore, Solo never discovers that his formula soon drives the user mad, nor that Cynthia isn't really dying. However, young Matthew, who has observed all and fears for his mother--Solo, evidently mad, appears to be killing his mother--tackles Solo, who falls to his death. The unspeakable Melanie is unmasked, Cynthia recovers, and Matthew is exonerated. An earnest but dubious effort; hard-to-swallow medical details and an asthmatically obvious plot with character sketches that serve only to prolong the already unsuspenseful proceedings.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1988
Publisher: Dodd, Mead