Phyllis Whitney's The Golden Unicorn (1976), enjoyed a nice circulation in the 80s, but has been gathering a bit of dust. It's a decent story, reminiscent of a sanitized but somewhat overwrought Nora Roberts. Courtney, a 25-year-old successful news writer whose adoptive parents have both been killed finds a clue that her real parents might be connected to a famous, reclusive painter. She makes arrangements to interview said painter, and spends time at her house along the beach. The extended family is hiding a variety of secrets and grudges, and these come to light in sometimes dangerous ways.
Thinking about fixing this one up-- the mylar cover is coming off, as is the front cover. The clothes and mores are dated (although the main character has a career, there's some noise about women marrying well and not working), and there is a tone to the whole story like something that would have been excerpted in Redbook in 1973. Was leaning heavily toward deaccession, but then checked out the author web site:
And found out that Ms. Whitney passed away just this February at the age of 104. I think I'll make the minor repairs and trot this one out next year and see what the students think.
At least the book is not gratuitously vulgar, like David Hernandez's Suckerpunch. I understand that it falls into the category of "gritty", considering the main plot is about two boys trying to prevent an abusive father from moving back home, but there were just several sexual references that were disturbing and completely unnecessary. Didn't finish, not buying.