Picks and Pans Review: The Eighth Commandment

updated 06/23/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/23/1986 01:00AM

by Lawrence Sanders

Thou shalt not steal is indeed the moral in this light-as-a-bubble comic caper by the author of The Anderson Tapes, The Fourth Deadly Sin and 20 other hot-selling novels. The first chapter, in which the heroine, Mary Lou "Dunk" Bateson, is introduced, is flawless. The opening sentence: "Men treat me with amusement, women with sympathy." Dunk is almost 6'2" and extremely skinny. She has come to New York from the Midwest and learned the antique coin trade from a sweet old man who turns her into an expert. When he retires, he sees to it that Dunk gets a good job at a top auction house. She is in charge of a large consignment of rarities when the rarest of them all, a Greek coin worth about $350,000, disappears. Dunk, to clear her own name and the reputation of her firm, turns detective, aided at times by a solid New York cop and a handsome insurance investigator. Dunk suddenly has two men in love with her, while her investigation involves her with a rich family in which everyone is doing unsavory things. The stolen coin is only the beginning; eventually there are three murders, and Dunk gets a threatening letter. Just as in many of his other novels, Sanders' characters seem preoccupied with food. Does the author write only when he's hungry? For frothy entertainment, this is Sanders' best effort in a long time. (Putnam, $18.95)

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