NO HARM by Wendy Hornsby


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A well-written debut novel of skewed family relationships that works hard to establish motives for its mayhem--but comes up short. Thirtyish Kate Teague, just divorced from lawyer Carl, is heiress to a palatial house on a valuable stretch of California coast after the murder of her abrasive, strong-willed mother. She shares the house with secretive maid Esperanza, and the beachfront with Uncle Dolph, his wife Mina, and son Reece, who live in a second; frail, reclusive Uncle Miles in a third. Reece's sister Nucie is long-dead of a botched Mexican abortion. Other abortions are rumored. Were they carried out? After a series of attacks on Kate--which convince her and Lieutenant Tejeda, in charge of the investigation, that her mother's killing was no random tragedy--the focus is on the family, its finances and its history. Then there's a second death--and a dramatic revelation before the murderer is nabbed in a clumsy, last-page confrontation with Kate and by-now lover Tejeda. Hornsby's style has grace and holding power, so tighter, less convoluted plotting would make her future work something to anticipate.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Dodd, Mead