The Senator’s Daughter
Medallion, Jan 2008, $7.95
The daughter of the U.S. Senator from California, Sylvia Cabot Chatsworth is a tabloid’s delight especially for “On the Spot” reporter Julio Castillo, who makes her look like a spoiled man eating party girl. When he catches what becomes known as the “Kiss”, Julio says San Francisco ADA Lyle Thomas is her next chump. Sylvia’s steel magnolia mom tells her that her scandals hurt the family and she should vanish just like developer Tony Valetti recently disappeared.
Hurt, Sylvia drives towards Napa Valley, but gets into an accident. She walks to the nearby Lava Spring Inn where the owners Mary and Buck Kline assume she is a spousal abuse victim on the run.
Her father offers Lyle money to find his missing daughter as he and his wife believe the Kiss will motivate him. Needing the money and getting a leave of absence due to the Senator, Lyle agrees. Weeks go by with no hint as to where she is as Sylvia does not use her credit cards or call home. Meanwhile Lyle visits Tony’s vintner brother Andre and stays at the Lava Spring Inn where he encounters their cook Sylvia Cabot. As they fall in love, he uncovers a shady deal involving his boss, her father, the Valetti brothers, and the Mafia. He can handle all that as the risks are simple: his job and his life; he cannot handle what will happen when his beloved learns that her father hired him to find her.
This interesting romance with some late intrigue stars two wonderful lead characters whose Kiss will remind the audience of the Gores at the 2000 Democratic Party Convention. The suspense comes very late as Lyle’s inquires hit nerves. Since the audience knows that Sylvia is okay though her parents and Lyle do not, her vanishing is not suspenseful. Christine Carroll cleverly defuses the coincidence factor by stating so rather than pretending otherwise. Although the investigation is abruptly rushed, fans will appreciate this fine contemporary.