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by Clair McNab
Bella Books, December 2002
198 pages
ISBN: 1931513163

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

What a nice surprise. I wasn't expecting this book in the mail and hadn't read Claire McNab up to now, although I always intended to do so. This mystery is a good story, moves well and left me satisfied. Another "yay" for the small presses.

Carol Ashton has appeared in 13 previous books. She's a Detective Inspector in Sydney, a three-dimensional woman with a life, a lover, a family and (well, of course) a cat. In this story, what appear to be accidental deaths have an odd feel to them. Ashton, along with other police officers, start finding odd threads to a series of seeming mishaps. Several people have died, not in the same way -- hit and run accident, a fall -- nor even the same place, but these folks are expert enough to trust their sense that something is off. The story works, and the resolution makes sense.

This is a rather short book, under 200 pages and not a lot of space is wasted. I very much appreciated the side story of Carol trying to work out a new relationship with Leota, and even that of her much-loved Aunt Sarah. However, I found McNab's handling of an important subject - Sarah has discovered a lump in her breast - to be exceedingly preachy and heavy handed. While it's a cause I totally support, I thought McNab did a very un-subtle job getting her point across. I'm not saying "lighten up" but these were the only moments where the dialogue flattened out. 

That said, I plan to go back now and read more of this series. --

http://www.drizzle.com/~roscoe - Stu & Andi's "The Roscoe Page" http://www.drizzle.com/~roscoe/tshirts.html - Original cartoon silk-screened t-shirts - some Sherlockian, Wodehousian & others still available. Check out the new 'Roscoe Store' pages at CafePress! We now have an assortment of imprinted items with original Stu Shiffman art: http://www.cafeshops.com/cp/store.aspx?s=roscoestore - "The Game's Afoot!" Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson http://www.cafeshops.com/cp/store.aspx?s=roscoestore2 - "Nero Woof," a Funny Animal version of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe. "Rex Trout takes notes on Nero Woof". http://www.cafeshops.com/cp/store.aspx?s=Roscoestore3 - "I Love a History Mystery!" Ancient Roman detective. http://www.cafeshops.com/cp/store.aspx?s=Roscoestore4 - "I Love a History Mystery!" Medieval mysteries.

Reviewed by Andi Shechter, October 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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