Cover image for Don't leave me this way
Don't leave me this way
Smith, Joan, 1953-
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Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [1990]

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Author Notes

Author, journalist, and human rights activist Joan Smith was born in London, England on August 27, 1953. She attended the University of Reading and worked for the Sunday Times from 1979 to 1984. She has also contributed to the Guardian Weekend supplement, The Independent, the Independent on Sunday, and the New Statesman. She writes both nonfiction and fiction including the Loretta Lawson series.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Smith brings much-needed freshness to a generally stale subgenre--the academic mystery. Her sleuth, Loretta Lawson, is altogether too gifted (a respected scholar about to complete a major literary biography), too lucky (a famous musician for a lover, a loyal cat, nice digs), and too svelte (a knockout in a black evening gown) for most tastes. So it's actually rather pleasant to witness her lovely little world get rudely upset when a long-forgotten friend crashes for a few days after a plumbing accident. Sandra isn't exactly an endearing houseguest (she undercooks the meat, locks the loyal cat in a closet, lives like a pig), and pretty much ruins the Christmas holidays, but she hardly deserves to die in a mysterious car accident that just may have been murder. Loretta decides to investigate, and though there aren't enough suspects to generate much suspense, Smith is a tidy, streamlined, and clever prose stylist. She also manages to use sexuality in ways English writers seldom do: as both a weapon and a source of salvation. ~--Peter Robertson

Publisher's Weekly Review

On Christmas Eve, feminist-scholar Loretta Lawson, professor of literature at the University of London, reluctantly takes in Sandra Neil, a difficult member of their long-disbanded women's group, who has called requesting a temporary place to stay. When Sandra disappears on New Year's Eve, Loretta is both relieved and worried; guilt is her main response upon hearing days later that Sandra has died in a suspicious car accident near the New Forest. Motivated by a sense of personal responsibility and her need to reconcile differences between her perception of Sandra and the account given police by Tom, the dead woman's husband, Loretta reluctantly pursues the case. Surprised at what she discovers among Sandra's clothing and other belongings, Loretta soon draws police suspicion to herself. The mystery's abrupt resolution, poorly prepared as well as unexpected, may disappoint readers who met and admired Loretta in A Masculine Ending . Yet Smith's narrative strengths are also in full evidence: Loretta, full of likes and dislikes, convictions and doubts, is literate, credible, likable and excellent company. Paperback rights to Ballantine. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved