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The Edge of Doom Hardcover – October 29, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (October 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345452364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345452368
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #841,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 13th Kate Fansler novel, following Honest Doubt (2000), takes an inward and somewhat less satisfying turn to focus on Kate herself. Previous outings featured crimes committed in or related to academic institutions, but this time a family matter kicks off the story a stranger has approached Kate's pompous oldest brother, Laurence, claiming to be Kate's biological father. DNA analysis removes one kind of uncertainty about the relationship between Kate and Jason "Jay" Ebenezer Smith, but other kinds crop up when Jay disappears. Kate's lawyer husband, Reed, unearths more evidence of Jay's past under a different name than "Smith," and different versions of a story about art theft lurking in his background get bandied about. "Not much action in this play," Kate thinks to herself after an unsatisfactory verbal exchange, a comment that could apply as well to this novel. Similarly, in contrast to most crime fiction, there's hardly any description of the main settings (apartments, offices and restaurants in Manhattan), perhaps an intentional illustration of Kate's self-analysis about her lack of visual awareness of people and places. Without the thrills and excitement normally encountered in a mystery, the reader is left with the literary wit and classy conversation for which Cross is best known. For many, that's reason enough to celebrate.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Carolyn Heilbrun becomes Cross to write this story of a young woman who finds her life threatened after a stranger claims to be her real father.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By crazyforgems on July 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When I came across the Kate Fansler mystery series a decade or so ago, I fell in love with them. The heroine was-still is-as dry as a martini, sophisticated, intelligent,aristocratic and independent. In many ways, she is a version of Katherine Hepburn.
However, in the past few years, the series has faltered. In part, I believe this is because Cross has kept her heroine contemporary (based on the original books she should be in her 70's or 80's but she is still in her 50s).
The Edge of Doom is an enjoyable, if not the most enjoyable, addition to the series. Fansler finds out that she has a long lost father who has a shady past and present. Part of the book's mystery lies in unlocking that past and present-and dodging all sorts of evildoers out to get her-and part of the mystery lies in her unlocking her own family's past. As always, Cross's depiction of sophisticated Manhattan life adds plenty of favor to the book.
I would recommend this book to die hard Amanda Cross junkies and to individuals who like books with dry and wry heroines. (Though if you've never read Cross, start with the earlier ones.) I wouldn't recommend this book to individuals who have been lukewarm on Cross in the past (this book won't change your mind) or who need action packed, adventure filled mysteries.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I hadn't read an Amanda Cross mystery in years, but I remember being fond of her feminist academic Kate Fansler, so I gave this one a try. I'm sad to say that this one is way off form. The plot is contrived in order to conform to a group of Shakespearean quotations - a conceit that has been far better by other writers - and although it is somewhat convoluted even I, who am generally not one to figure things out before the author explains, was able to see what was coming a mile away.
Further, I have to say that the character development was wooden, the mechanism of the plot was creaky, the dialog stilted. I did enjoy some of the academic overtones, but that probably isn't enough to give this one a recommendation.
Scott Morrison
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on November 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Literature Professor Kate Fansler thinks that, at 50, she knows everything she needs to know about her family. When her brother calls and tells her that a man claims to be her father and can prove it by a DNA test, Kate's world is turned on its head. Jay Smith may be Kate's father, but he clearly holds several more secrets close to his heart. His background seems to have holes in it--and his stories are a little too convenient and self-serving for Kate's peace of mind.
Author Amanda Cross (Carolyn G. Heilbrun) writes with an approachable style that keeps the pages turning. I found myself, however, more and more unsympathetic toward Kate. Her attitude toward her family--disinterest and contempt, might be appropriate and justified, but this wasn't clear from the book. Kate's reaction toward her late life discovery that she might not be the person she always thought she was seems mediated by literature rather than honestly felt (okay, Kate is a Literature Professor so this is not totally out of line, but still, I never really felt the emotional impact of such an important event).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
For a 56 year old woman who finds out her father was not really her father, Kate is amazingly unchanged by the experience. This is the first book I have read in the series and I found Kate cold, arrogant and insufferable. Good writing but I won't pick up another Amananda Cross.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eleanor V. Miller on November 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Those of us who are fans of this bibliophile's dream of a series remember that amateur detective Kate Fansler played a more or less peripheral role in Amanda Cross' last novel, "Honest Doubt", which precipitated her new heroine, feisty PI Estelle 'Woody' Woodhaven, head first (and over her head without Kate's help) into murder in academia. Hopefully, we have not seen the last of Woody, but what a joy it is to have Kate take center stage again in "The Edge of Doom". As Kate well might put it about her Cross progenitor, "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety." With her usual panache, she has presented Kate with a fascinating and almost diabolical problem: a possible case of mistaken identity...her own. Kate, as the youngest Fansler child, has always felt herself something of a changeling in the family structure, alienated from their stuffy conventionalism by her own far more liberal attitudes, behaviors and beliefs. However, when her oldest brother Lawrence brings her the startling news that she may not legitimately be a Fansler at all; that one Jason E. Smith had appeared in his office out of the blue claiming that Kate was the result of a love affair that he had had with their mother well over fifty years ago, obviously Kate and her attorney husband Reed have to take some action, but what? Meet him? Ignore him? After DNA testing confirms Smith's claim, it opens a veritable Pandora's box of possibilities and questions. Who is Smith really? What does he want? Why has he suddenly chosen to appear in Kate's life? And, most importantly, why does he equally suddenly and mysteriously choose to disappear? Following much confusion worse confounded (and from her POV confounded confusion!Read more ›
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