Tuesday, September 25, 2012

As the tenth book in John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series opens, McGee is once again called upon to restore a grieving widow to psychological and sexual health. The grateful woman, Helena Pearson, returns to her normal life, but several years later, she is dying of cancer and calls upon McGee for one last favor. Helena's daughter, Maurie, has become mysteriously suicidal and Helena would like McGee to diagnose the problem and find a solution.

McGee dutifully journeys to Fort Courtney, Florida, where Maurie lives with her husband, Tom, a high-flying local developer. Maurie's younger sister, Bridget, is also in residence, helping Tom look after Maurie. Sadly, by the time McGee arrives, Helena has succumbed to her cancer and so McGee is left to feel his way through a very complicated situation if he's going to be of any help.

As is usually the case in one of these novels, things get complicated in a big hurry. A number of folks seem to be very interested in McGee's arrival; a couple of people will have to die; everyone will be enormously confused and only McGee may be smart enough and devious enough to sort things out.

Like all of the McGee novels, this one is obviously dated, and McGee spends a lot of time philosophizing about the world around him. There's not as much action in this book as in most of the others in the series--things are a bit more cerebral--and there's not a hulking, giant, Neanderthalish brute of an adversary as there often is. The climax beggars belief a bit, but still, it's a fun read and anyone who enjoys the series will certainly want to find this entry.

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