SNARE OF SERPENTS by Victoria Holt
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Holt's latest romantic suspense tale--with all the expected jaunts and shudders--takes her leading lass from Edinburgh to South Africa (at Boer War time), then back to Scotland, as she tries to run ahead of, escape from, the accusation of ""murderess,"" a label that will shadow sunny hours. At the same time, of course, real murderers are on the loose. . . Motherless Davina Glentyre is horrified when her closest friend, her young governess Lilias, is unjustly banished by Davina's starchy father, David. Then enter a stunning but peculiar new governess, lusty Zillah--who seems to have an odd knowledge of music-hall songs and whose extravagant devotion to David eventually wilts his starch. In the meantime, puzzled Davina falls (unwisely) in love with a poor law student, while Father (who marries Zillah) is busy selecting a suitor. But then father David is murdered--by arsenic, in a drink poured by an unwitting Davina. A witness vanishes; a horrid coachman has an alibi; and, after a scandalous trial, the verdict is a mere ""not proven."" Still, hounded by a public convinced that she's guilty, Davina runs off to Lilias in Devonshire, where she meets the dynamic Roger Lestrange, in the diamond trade in South Africa. He is about to marry meek, wealthy Myra. Lilias and Davina, bound for distance and adventure, also travel to South Africa to teach--and find violence and mystery: a native boy strangled; eerie wooden figures reenacting an old tragedy; Myra mysteriously near death (Davina catches on a heartbeat after the reader does); and someone eager to exhume Davina's buried past. No sooner is the South Africa mystery tucked away, however, than Holt returns to #1--who did in David? And, of course, there will be love matches for both Davina and Lilias. The unsinkable Holt once again--brisk, buoyant and, as ever, carrying a tonnage of people and perplexities with ease.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Doubleday