Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Polka Dot Nude: Review

The Polka Dot Nude (1989) by Joan Smith features Audrey Dane, biographer and ghostwriter, who has been selected by the great actress Rosalie Hart to write her memoirs. She visits Hartland, Rosalie's estate, and is given exclusive access to diaries and other material. Rosalie also makes her a gift of a beautiful self-portrait titled "The Polka Dot Nude."Audrey takes all of the materials with her to a cabin in the Thousand Islands area where she plans to write in seclusion. 

Those plans go by the wayside when a handsome stranger takes the cabin next to her. Brad O'Malley claims that he is a professor on sabbatical, but how many professors pack a Mercedes with Vuitton luggage stuffed with designer clothes, cases of fine wine, and a full hi-fi for a little sabbatical get-away? Is he really who he says he is and why is he so interested in her research on Rosalie Hart? Then Audrey's research disappears and so does the painting. Who took them? What secrets are they trying to hide? Has anything illegal really happened?

....and why should I care? That thought came up periodically until I decided to toss in the towel and skim my way to the last couple chapters just so I could say read enough and had a firm enough grip on the plot that I could claim the thing for challenges. Audrey is such an insecure person. I find it hard to believe that she exudes enough self-confidence in her work that the rich and famous trust their memoir-writing to her. And she's the protagonist who's supposed to be figuring out all the mysterious goings-on in this book. Instead of picking up all the clues dangling in front of her eyes (with darn-near neon signs pointing the way), she is SO mystified. She can't imagine who's doing things. She can't figure out who Rosalie's secret child is. She can't figure out Brad O'Malley's secret. She can't see the romance just waiting for her to respond in the least little way (instead she keeps running like a scared little rabbit and having conversations in her head about how stupid she is to keep ruining things. She's right.). 

The mystery wasn't very mysterious. There was very little suspense. And the characters weren't all that interesting or engaging. Brad is the best of the bunch. Since I didn't actually read this straight through--no rating. 

This counts for the "Book" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.

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