1. Title and author
Full Stop by Joan Smith
Joan Smith is probably from British nationality because of the British nationality of her head character and the fact that the book was first published in the United Kingdom.
She has written some other detectives with the same main character (eg. "What men say"), but she has also written some non fiction, like "Misogynies" and "Clouds of deceit".
She is contemporary and as far as I know, she is still alive.
Loretta Lawson, spends a weekend at the New York apartment of her friend Toni Stramiello - a stopover on her way back to Oxford after an extended stay in California.
Trouble starts when Toni suddenly announces that she's going to Long Island for the weekend (to get married, it transpires), leaving Loretta to feed and walk Toni's ugly bulldog Honey, go alone to the theater, and receive a series of obscene phone calls at the apartment.
Even her amiable contact with journalist ex-husband John Tracey turns out unhappily, their dinner date ending with Tracey nearly unconscious from a forbidden mix of prescription drugs and alcohol.
Meanwhile, wherever Loretta goes - from the theater to the Metropolitan Museum to lunch with her agent - she's certain someone is watching. A walk in the park with Honey produces an embarrassing encounter with a young man claiming to be Toni's son, who is the one who was actually watching her all the time, as he was convinced her being his mother.
Back at the apartment, the obscene caller, now identified as an ex- boyfriend of Toni, is still on the line. Loretta also finds out that this caller, Micheal, is one and the same person as detective Donelly, who pretended trying to trace the obscene caller.
A last day trip, on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, turns up a living reminder of a one-night stand in the distant past and ends with a fatal shooting. It seems that an ex-boyfriend of Loretta, who already has committed an (unsolved) murder has turned into a drugsdealer and is now killed because of a late delivery.
3. Main characters
Obviously, the main character is Loretta Lawson, a British professor and author.
She is the main character in some other detective stories of Joan Smith and it turns out that she is a real sleuth. She seems rather sensitive to me and is very suspicious as soon as she gets an obscene phone call.
This book is about the crime rate in New York City and the fact that people who don't know the city are really scared of it.
Another important aspect in the book is trust. Who can Loretta trust, who can she tell about the obscene caller?
It's a detective, but it can as well be considered to be a soft thriller.
There are no dates mentioned in the book, but the story takes probably place at the moment it's written: somewhere in the nineties.
It's all about "ordinary" people in the city of New York.
7. Personal appreciation
It's a hodgepodge of a story with a real absurd finish.
The story accelerates a lot towards the end, and it's all solved a little bit too fast.
I didn't really appreciate the minutely detailed descriptions of New York's highways, byways, art collections, etc., but the story itself is very good written.
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