DANCE OF THE MONGOOSE by T.J. Phillips

DANCE OF THE MONGOOSE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A second novel by Tom Savage (Precipice, 1994), here using a pseudonym, in the same setting--St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands. Joe Wilder grew up there, but now lives in Manhattan, trying to make a life as novelist-playwright. He decides to make one of his rare visits to the island after getting a letter from Tangera, wife of Frank Jensen, once Joe's closest friend and, with Dennis Grey, part of a boyhood trio who called themselves The Three Musketeers. Frank's father Hubert, a judge running for almost certain election as governor, was killed in his library at Haven View, the family manse. Local gossip makes Frank the killer, with little blame attached. Hubert was a bigoted and polished monster--unfaithful to his now alcoholic wife; unaccepting of his gorgeous black daughter-in-law; in league with wily developer Abel Brandt in further commercialization and desecration of the island. Joe renews old friendships--with Dennis, now a government administrator and engaged to Jenny, daughter of reelected governor Clayton Hughs, and with old flame Elsa Tremayne, among many others. Unconvinced of Frank's guilt, puzzled by his own ever-present silent watcher and by new tragic happenings, Joe nears a solution--and almost loses his life. Hints of the supernatural and an overplayed use of melodrama are minor flaws in a steadily engaging story--one with vivid local color, unhackneyed characters, a dense but credible plot and quirky, intense, likable Joe Wilder. Different and distinctive.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Berkley