Monika Claude, six-foot tall and 26, who’s helping produce an issue on “Women and Music” for the feminist periodical Heresies, has a paying job as a gardener at The Cloisters museum in upper Manhattan. It’s 1978, early spring, and the whole of Greenwich Village is her back yard. She pursues her passion for medieval women’s monasticism at her jobsite and at a well-known Connecticut convent. But from the first day, the museum’s Director is on her case. Its kindly librarian suddenly disappears, supposedly dead of a heart attack, after leaving Monika a note with intimations about poisonous plants (some of which grow in the Bonnefont Herb Garden). The Director too, then, is suddenly dead, found by Monika on his bloodstained office rug. She leaves the scene without reporting it, having recently had a terrific row with the man—as had George, the graduate-student security guard with whom she has begun a romance. Enter a lesbian co-worker, a graphologist, and a Board member. Monika feels she has two mysterious deaths on her hands.
A most unusual thing about this novel is the manner of its composition: it was com- pletely written by its characters. Barbara Lachman had no idea who might die or how, who would be responsible, or indeed even what would happen next in the story. The characters she invented led the way, often to her surprise.
It is a genuinely feminine novel.
Tomorrow at 5 is available in prepublication form from the author; twelve dollars, includ- ing postage. Please e-mail her at BLachman@embarqmail.com.