Age of Consent (1987)

From the Jacket Cover

Daniel Sanborn is a saintly, enigmatic figure, a surgeon who travels the Third World repairing disfigured faces. But in Spain, on his way home to New York, the car in which the doctor is riding with the Archbishop of Málaga is ambushed. Sanborn and two assistants are killed. Were the bullets that everyone assumed were meant for the Archbishop in fact aimed at Sanborn? As his sister Vivian sets out to find the puzzling gaps in Daniel’s life the question of why he was killed becomes almost more important that who killed him. Who was he really? Even his past is a mystery. Vivian only knows that he was a waif from Jerusalem brought over to America by her wealthy Jewish parents. Daniel’s adoptive parents were well intentioned and generous, but he never asked for nor received consent to this new life. His real mother, an embattled woman, gave him away without his consent. Because he was unconsenting, Daniel Sanborn had no capacity to love. What can a good man do when he cannot love?

The more Vivian finds out about her adopted brother, the more troubled she becomes. Why did he leave most of his money to a tawdry nightclub comedian, Jack Ripstein? To add to the mystery, Ripstein – “Jack the Ripper” – at first pretends that he never knew Daniel Sanborn. Finally she must confront the biggest question of all: Was Daniel Sanborn really the great man she took him for?

Author’s Notes

“There are libraries of crime fiction that describe what happens when bad people are unable to love. What happens to a good person unable to love? What happens when children are separated from their families at early ages without their consent? Consent is more powerful than we think. I wanted to investigate this situation.”


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