Dead Letter

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Garner Quinn, a best-selling author who specializes in the study of criminals, lives on a secluded estate along the New Jersey coast with her teenage daughter and her elderly housekeeper. Although Garner has grown accustomed to “walking the dark side,” dealing on a daily basis with deranged minds and creepy customers, she takes seriously a series of very explicit letters sent to her home from a psychopathic fan named “Chaz.”

Realizing that Chaz is a bigger problem than she can handle by herself, Garner calls in the top-notch security firm of Corbin, Inc., a firm that specializes in high- profile clients. A team of experts quickly mounts an around-the-clock detail to protect Garner, prompted in part by the more-than-professional interest of the head of the firm, Reed Corbin, in Garner herself. Although flattered by Reed’s attentions, Garner is still in love with the dashing Dan Blackmoor, a successful artist living in Paris, with whom she has had a rocky romantic history. Unfortunately, it is just when Garner’s problems with “Chaz” seem to be resolved that things really begin to heat up.

Dead Letter is the third in a series of mysteries by Jane Waterhouse, all featuring the feisty and beautiful writer-detective Garner Quinn. Waterhouse has an extensive background as a television screenwriter and playwright, and this experience is amply demonstrated in the taut writing of this psychological thriller. Fortunately, the author plays up the suspense while playing down the violence, and Garner Quinn survives to solve future mysteries.