Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Test (Patricia Gussin)

There is nothing like a good mystery story, especially one that is set in your hometown. Landmarks that the author writes about are familiar enough to make the reader understand the story more. Philadelphia seems to be the setting for many of these stories (Lisa Scottoline being the master)...I suppose because of the city's historical value.

"The Test" is the story of a billionaire family with roots in Philadelphia's exclusive Main Line. The many Parnell family members gather after their father's death to hear the reading of his will. They are shocked when they learn that they will only receive their part of the inheritance if they each pass his "test". Paul Parnell, the patriarch, felt guilty that he never really taught his children the morals they need to survive. Their inheritance will depend on if they can learn these morals in one year. Along the way, they will each face much hardship and tragedy.

This novel had such an interesting premise, but never really succeeded in getting where it needed to go. I had a hard time getting through it, as I felt at times that I was reading a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mystery. The story is cliche'-ridden, and the ending comes so out of left field that it is laughable. Still, Gussin should be commended for her outline. This could have been a slam dunk.


This review can also be found at