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by Joanna Hines
Pocket Books UK, March 2002
472 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0671029088

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Helen North had planned to share her holiday on a Greek Island with a lover, but by the time the booking arrives, he has passed into history. So she finds herself alone in one of the more romantic spots on earth and though she appreciates the solitude, she is also grateful for the company offered by another single woman, Carla, who befriends her. Carla is unpredictable, at once reckless and frightened, charming and vicious and, before the holiday is over, she is dead and Helen is convinced it is all her fault. Helen, however, has no precise memory of the final moments of Carlažs life and, after she returns to London, she finds herself unable to pick up the strands of her own life until she discovers who Carla was and what has been lost with her passing.

Hines rings some interesting changes on what is fairly conventional romantic suspense material. She is particularly good at describing the interaction between women and provides a range of female characters far more varied than is common in romance. I was less impressed with the men, who struck me as fairly stock figures. To be honest, romantic suspense is not a particular favourite of mine (with the exception of Jane Eyre, of course) but I read this straight through with interest, even though I figured out where it was going quite early on. Though it has a different focus, Improvising Carla is somehow faintly reminiscent of Rebecca, and fans of the genre will certainly not be disappointed.

As far as I can discover, Joanna Hines is not published in the US, though I canžt imagine what not. This review refers to the original UK hardbound edition.

Either edition may be obtained from Crime In Store, London CrimeBks@aol.com

Reviewed by Yvonne Klein, March 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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