Books: Earthquake at Como

MADAME SOLARIO (374 pp.)−/Anonymous&−Viking ($3.95).

After observing the new guest, the hotel doctor remarked ominously: "Geologists speak of faults when they mean weaknesses in the crust of the earth that cause earthquakes . . . There are people like 'faults' who are a weakness in the fabric of society; there is disturbance and disaster wherever they are."

Subject of his observation: the beautiful, slightly mysterious "woman with a past" who appears, unannounced, amid the pastel parasols of a fashionable resort, bringing with her a whiff of evil−that exquisite cliche beloved by turn-of-the-century authors from...

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