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The Test    by Patricia Gussin order for
by Patricia Gussin
Order:  USA  Can
Oceanview, 2009 (2009)

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*   Reviewed by Kelly Thunstrom

There is nothing like a good mystery, especially one that is set in your home town. 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 mysteries (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 moral values they need to survive. Their inheritance will depend on whether they can learn these 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 cliché-ridden, and the ending comes totally out of left field. Still, Gussin should be commended for her outline. This could have been a slam dunk.

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