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by Anne K. Edwards
Twilight Times Books, October 2004
242 pages
ISBN: 1931201609

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Hannah Clare is a private investigator with excellent camouflage. As the book begins she is reaching a stage of recovery from her husband's death that brings her back to work after a period of hibernation with her daughter and grandson. As a woman in her fifties she can disguise herself well and, for most of the book, she works as a cleaning lady for a suspect.

She uses the anonymity achieved, perhaps reluctantly, by middle-aged women to good effect. Indeed on one occasion the suspect employer sees her in her own clothes and, despite his nagging feeling of recognition, finds it impossible to realize that this is his despised employee!

The author really conveys the hot sticky weather conditions throughout the events and the effects on people's tempers of their feelings of discomfort. Her heroine is frankly described as fat and her miseries when getting in and out of her small car and working physically are well presented.

Indeed this heroine is in many ways someone whose flaws we can appreciate -- her efforts to give up smoking cause her particular pain. Although Hannah and her family are attractive characters many of those whom Hannah meets in the course of her work are very unattractive -- selfish, obsessed, cruel and greedy.

Hannah's habit of reading obituaries in the local paper in her small Pennsylvanian town has led her to doubt the premature and unexplained deaths of several people. Through her wide-ranging investigations she is able to put clues together to reach a theory of what has been happening.

The body count is fairly high throughout proceedings and as the tale reaches its climax threats to Hannah become more and more serious. She succeeds in unmasking the villains and escaping from a dangerous situation by her own efforts. It is always pleasing to have a female coping with her dangers by her own resources. Hannah is a PI with professional skills and with the common sense and integrity to investigate a bizarre case very successfully.

Reviewed by Jennifer Palmer, November 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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