My Book Recommendation

McMullen in good form–with the story of John Swain, 50-ish painter on the brink of international fame, and his elegant dealer Adrian De Lima: together they concoct a death at sea for Swain–who’s to be miraculously found a year later, with recovered memory and a new fortune in escalated picture prices. But, though Swain’s cool mistress Maggie is part of the scheme, others get suspicious about the Swain death-and-resurrection: Maggie’s bitter ex-husband Matt; her urbane songwriter nephew Sam; Swain’s long-estranged daughter Johanna; and. . .sweetly rapacious Alice Smith, an illegitimate Swain daughter with an avid interest in the six-figure prices now being fetched by Swain’s paintings. Thus, the carefully constructed scare begins to fall apart–and so does the suave De Lima, with disastrous results for some, delicious ones for others. An essentially familiar notion–but, except for an irritating dependence on coincidence to move things along, McMullen works it up into her usual, reliable mixture of suspense, romance, lively pace, and vivid characters.

Pub Date: March 5, 1982


Page Count:

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Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1982

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