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by Michelle Spring
Ballantine Books, November 1999
239 pages
ISBN: 0345435486

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Every Breath You Take is an impressive debut novel where the author takes her love for mystery fiction and creates a story just the way she likes it. There is no prologue or no introduction in the first book of the Laura Principal. The main characters have been around for some time and are already established within their own settings. This will be the first time the readers get the opportunity to meet the main character, a former Cambridge academic who left everything to become a private investigator. Buckle your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.

When the story begins, Laura and her best friend Helen Cochrane are relaxing on Wildfell, an isolated cabin near the coast of Norfolk. Every weekend, the two friends go there to escape their daily routine of their jobs and just enjoy each otherís company. They have shared a lot between them including divorces and life at Cambridge University. Lately, they have been discussing doing some repair work at the vacation house but have been unable due to financial circumstances. One of them suggests getting a new roommate and they know just the person ñ Monica Harcourt. Ms. Harcourt is an accomplished artist at the university who has been looking for a place to relax as well as work with her paintings. She spends one weekend at Norfolk and falls in love with the place. Unfortunately, she will be unable to return after being murdered in her own flat. Laura will be the one to find the body.

Laura is distraught with the loss of a potential good friend. She decides to help in the police investigation by doing some private eye work and sharing it with Detective Sergeant Nicole Pelletier, a former student of Ms. Principal. Together they will learn more about Ms. Harcourtís personal life as well as some problems she was having receiving at the school. Spring provides several red herrings through the novel and comes back with a plausible conclusion.

One of the things that the author does to make the novel enjoyable is the introduction of subplots that have absolutely nothing to do with Helenís murder. The reader gets to know more about Laura Principal and her investigational techniques by following other cases that include a background check on an Italian interpreter as well as assist in the transition of a former convict serving his last days of his sentence. It is through those story lines that we learn Principalís background as well as some of the choices she makes. The main character is truly original and likable wishing her a long life with this series. This series breaks convention in how to introduce a character and does it well. Let us hope the series continues moving upward with quality work.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, November 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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