DIAMOND IN THE BUFF by Susan Dunlap

DIAMOND IN THE BUFF

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Back to Berkeley, California, with Homicide Detective Jill Smith (A Dinner to Die For, etc.) and yet another group of slightly batty residents. This time it's dentist Hasbrouk Diamond, called ""Has-Bitched"" by the local police, who patiently investigate his frequent complaints about neighbor Leila Sandoval. Diamond and she were once an item, but he lost interest after her divorce, and for years they've been playing nasty tricks on each another. Diamond is presently up to his ears in debt, having put a bundle into a film company about to make a movie of a Himalayan ascent led by famed climber Bev Zagoya. Bev is now living in Diamond's house; so is charming, young Kris Mouskavachi, an exile from Nepal, where he'd been part of Bev's last expedition. On the eve of an all-important presentation to potential movie-backers, Kris is found dead--in a fall off Diamond's high-perched deck. And Leila has vanished. All hands loudly protest innocence, but Jill--working through side issues like illegal marijuana farming and who paid Kris's way to the US--comes up with an unsurprising solution. Lively backdrop of a subdued, post-60's Berkeley, but still abounding in misfits and exotics; a bit of mountaineering lore and police routines--along with not too much of Jill's ongoing romance with fellow detective Seth Howard--make a mundane puzzle moderately diverting and easy to take.

Pub Date: March 23rd, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's