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FICTION : KEEP THE BABY, FAITH by Philip DeGrave (Doubleday: $12.95; 179 pp.).

September 21, 1986|Steven Linan

Pity poor Harry Ross. Unhappy and unfulfilled, he's the television listings editor for The Grayness, a major metropolitan newspaper. Harry hankers for a little romance and adventure in his lonely life. Enter Faith Sidon, his sister's rich and very pregnant childhood friend, claiming she and her infant have been marked for murder.

Before you can say Television Times, Harry turns from listings to legwork and finds himself in the midst of a highly improbable plot involving the will of Faith's husband, a cancer-stricken cosmetics tycoon, and a fistful of his wealthy relatives.

It quickly becomes a question of who's doing what to whom--and why. Unfortunately, I found it difficult to really care. Likable and sympathetic as Harry and Faith may be, they aren't very compelling characters. And the same can be said for Faith's haughty in-laws.

Granted, DeGrave's denouement offers a reasonably tidy, satisfying twist and his droll, well-paced style makes for a light, leisurely read. Nonetheless, if an author is going to build a book around the familiar someone-is-trying-to-kill-me scenario, it seems only fair that the reader should get a gallery of quirky or genuinely colorful characters to sustain interest.

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