I just finished "Blue Fire," another extraordinary Phyllis A. Whitney masterpiece. In this book, she tells a good story while attempting to explain what was happening with apartheid and race relations in South Africa in the mid-20th century.
I'm in the process of re-reading all her books. I wish I had been reading Phyllis A. Whitney when I was a teenager instead of Henry Miller, Nabokov, Andre Gide, and other authors recommended to me by my high school English teachers. All her books are interesting and very self-affirming, whether they are adult or juvenile fiction.
I love her sentence construction (good for reading out loud), her protagonists (always persons you can relate to and feel their struggles), and her way of bringing personal problems and various mysteries to satisfactory conclusions (life decisions as well as things encountered along the way).
Like Agatha Christie, you always feel there is not a wasted word. Some modern authors seem to be trying to get to a certain page count with unnecessary descriptions - of California weather, for example - that are not necessary for the plot or character development. In "Blue Fire," Whitney spends a lot of time describing the flowers in South Africa and the local geography/topography, but these paragraphs are helpful as the reader comes to understand what is happening with the characters and the plot line.