DORIS FIEN: PHANTOM OF THE CASINO by T. Ernesto Bethancourt

DORIS FIEN: PHANTOM OF THE CASINO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bethancourt's 18-year-old sometime spy is home in California here, playing hostess to the Japanese-American New York cop she met and liked in her first adventure. Despite their brief acquaintance, Carl, now a law school grad, has flown out to propose; but independent Doris stalls him, determined to finish college before thinking of such matters. More to the point, his visit lands them both in the casino ballroom on the small island of Santa Catarina, and has them opening their champagne when a 600-pound fixture falls on the dance floor, injuring a woman. Carl takes charge of the emergency and they discover that other funny business has been going on in the casino. The culprit, it turns out, is not the brutal local sheriff, accused by Doris' old newsman friend Harry and defended by fellow cop Carl, but Doris' old piano teacher Mrs. Grayson, an island resident whose early dream of playing with big bands in the casino was thwarted by sex discrimination. Now, batty as a birdcage, Mrs. Grayson is determined to blow up the casino, with herself and Doris in it. Doris' handling of the woman and Carl's handy arrival save them all, and the incident proves therapeutic for the old pianist, who will probably be matching up with an admiring Harry. Dippy, yes; and this time round Bethancourt's plot is almost as straight as the sensibility he projects--and his psychology as tacky as the hotel decor.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1981
Publisher: Holiday House