April 21, 1997 12:00 PM

by Linda Barnes

Page-Turner of the Week

WHEN SHE WAS 14, LE TOUT BOSTON was riveted by blue blood Thea Janis’s revealing literary debut. The next year, they were reading her obituary. Now, almost a quarter-century after the tragic prodigy’s funeral, part of a sensational new manuscript surfaces suggesting that she might be alive after all—to the potential embarrassment of her brother, who is running for governor.

The unenviable, though lucrative, task of trying to pick up Thea’s trail falls to local PI Carlotta Carlyle, the feisty, flame-haired former cop and sometime taxi driver who has starred in six previous adventures. As it turns out, she needs to tap both areas of expertise as she makes her way through a forest of familial secrets and lies—starting with the identity of the client who hired her. Some of the twists prove a tad melodramatic, but with a stylish pro like Barnes doing the plotting, this chilling case won’t leave you cold. (Delacorte, $21.95)

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