(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

It would be unfair to compare Carol Higgins Clark to her famous mother, Mary Higgins Clark, yet for most readers the expectation of similar quality writing is inevitable. Unfortunately, such expectations can only set one up for disappointment. This second book by the younger Clark has a simplistic story line, contrived narrative, predictable events, and a dearth of excitement.

The heroine, Regan Reilly, works as a private detective, but she is on the scene this time to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. Her father, and the bride’s, are in town not only for the wedding but also for a mortuary convention. The presence of the undertakers and their products spawns such predictable plot twists as the display coffins being used to hide a person who is still alive.

Senior citizens get good press, as one of them, Richie Blossom, stars in the action. He has invented run-proof, snag-proof pantyhose, and hopes that the sale of the hosiery will net enough money for him to buy the Florida apartment building where he and his elderly friends are about to lose their affordable housing.

Meanwhile, the opposition in the apartment-buying competition is trying to bump off Richie before he can purchase the building. Regan’s famous mother, the mystery writer Nora Regan Reilly, is busy arranging a cocktail reception to coincide with the fashion show to introduce the new pantyhose. Richie’s ne’er-do-well cousin is trying to snag himself a commission by sneaking stolen pantyhose out to a company to preview before the official unveiling, and the Calla-Lily stocking company is trying to test the “borrowed” sample to see if it is as good as it claims to be. In the end the good guys win, the bad guys lose, and the perfect pantyhose is less than perfect. Ho-hum.