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Walk a Tightrope by Julie Ellis
#1
I wrote a rather harsh review at first. Luckily I couldn't post it right away because I'm on vacation with no internet, and I had time to reconsider. If I myself don't like a book, doesn't mean it's all bad. Someone else may love it. A reviewer needs to look at all angles: negative and positive. So I'll try again. I also intend to throw a book against the wall next time I don't like it, instead of finishing it for the sole purpose of writing a review.

The story is told from the perspective of several people, so the reader isn't asked to experience it all from the heroine's viewpoint. She's a young girl, Jill, trying to become a Broadway actress in the 1970s. After her first play fails miserably, she's asked by a man in his sixties to be a guest at his home, a large house high on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic. He likes to offer the house as a retreat for creative people who need a breathing spell. "Never more than five guests at a time and everyone who comes up is asked to remain for at least four weeks. To give the house a fair chance... "
Ominous, right? Jill accepts. At Cliff House she meets the four other guests, the cook, the handyman, the nice young doctor and a few other local people. It's not long before several attempts are made on Jill's life, but she won't hear of leaving. There's a mystery to be solved, which is much more important, of course. The nice young doctor is very helpful, another incentive to stay. The reader won't know who the bad person is till the final revelation.

I enjoyed the little, albeit very few and far between, references to the 1970s. "Jill was coming down the stairs wearing a sunlight yellow pantsuit". Awww, how cute.

It's a rather simple story. Throw a bunch of people together in a huge Victorian mansion, have something mysterious in the past happen which has its effect in the here and now and threatens the life of the heroine, and finally explain who of the many usual suspects had means, motive and murder in mind.

The writing was good and the setting and people well-described.

I'd give it a 4 out of 10.
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