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She Came in a Flash
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Sporting an unorthodox (lesbian feminist) but likable protagonist in the person of Emma Victor, lately removed to California as a public relations person, this plot juxtaposes a Woman's Benefit Concert with the Divine Vishnu Inspiration Commune. Several ``coincidences'' connect the two: a bouncing donation check; an ex-rock star making a comeback; and a ``missing'' black woman turned Vishnu-follower. After the black woman is killed, Emma resolves to find the murderer. A rather tenuous story line, puffed up here and there, but not bad overall.-- REK

A prosaic plot spoils the return of amateur sleuth Emma Victor. Wings's ( She Came Too Late ) lesbian heroine has removed from Boston to San Francisco to recover from a love affair, and is now doing publicity and troubleshooting for the Women's Benefit Concert, organized by her friend, folksinger Maya Russgay. When a $5000 check from the Women's Freedom Foundation bounces, Emma tracks the donation to the Divine Vishnu Inspiration commune, which is presided over by statuesque Bu Mper ``Bumper'' Lee. While Emma also copes with a former punk rock star, Nebraska Storm, who is staging her comeback from drugs at the music fest, she receives a phone call from her best friend, Jonell Flax, asking Emma to contact her sister Lana. A promising physicist, Lana has joined the Vishnus and stopped communicating with her family. Though Emma talks to the young woman, she cannot convince her to return home. After the concert, Lana is murdered and Nebraska Storm is implicated. Believing in Nebraska's innocence, Emma embarks on finding the killer. The book is competently written and does have its moments: a surprise ending, a lovable, wheelchair-bound character, Roseanna Baynetta, and Emma, an interesting and thoroughly likable protagonist who deserves a better outing next time. (Apr.)

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