Thursday, March 18, 2010

Invisible Boy
Cornelia Read
Grand Central, Mar 30 2010, $24.99
ISBN: 9780446511346

In 1990 in Manhattan, former socialite Madeline Dare is happy with her marriage to blue-collar Dean though she does not like their dumpy Union Square apartment that she and her spouse share with her sister and their friend. Still she does not miss her former lifestyle of the rich and socially Mayflower prominence nor her exile to the Berkshires as she accepts being poor.

Madeline runs into her distant cousin Cate Ludlam, who is leading a clean-up of Prospect Cemetery in Queens. Unable to say no, Madeline is drafted to pull weed duty. However, she finds the skeletal remains of a young child, who turns out to be missing three years old Teddy Underhill. Refusing to stay out of the NYPD inquiry, Madeline learns that the little boy was an abuse victim of his mother and her boyfriend.

Unlike The Crazy School or A Field of Darkness amateur sleuthing stints, Invisible Boy is more a condemning look at society that is run by class status, heritage elitism and racial stereotyping; as justice is not blind to the affluent or the poor albeit treated differently. Readers will appreciate Madeline’s daring exploits in Manhattan and Queens as she refuses to back down from a system that enables a three year old to be discarded.

Harriet Klausner

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