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by Sheryl J. Anderson
St Martin's Minotaur, August 2005
320 pages
ISBN: 0312319444

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

KILLER COCKTAIL is an unabashed chick lit mystery; designer names and disastrous relationships all hold equal importance with death. That said, it is also a solid and competent mystery -- the puzzle is complex, the suspects numerous and the plot clips along at a good pace.

It all starts when Trisha invites her good friends Cassady and series heroine Molly Forrester up to her parents' home in the Hamptons to celebrate with gritted teeth her brother's engagement to a drunken actress. After the actress, Lisbet, makes a spectacle of herself at the party, someone makes a pool toy out of her and her fiance discovers her face-down in the deep end.

The one who finds the body and the one who is most embarrassed by the dead person -- in both cases, Trisha's brother -- is usually the suspect. So Trisha begs Molly to clear the family name.

Despite the experience gained in the previous book in the series, KILLER HEELS, Molly finds it a hard case to crack. Part of this is the rotten attitude of the investigating detective. The rest is Molly's rotten attitude about how closely that (woman) detective is getting to her own detective boyfriend.

I found this jealousy to be over the top, and it was hard to warm to a woman who insists on doing her boyfriend's job -- it seemed to relegate him from a professional down to advisor and sex toy. Because of this, I couldn't really warm to the book.

But I couldn't put it down, either. Despite my disinterest in the heroine, the actual mystery was particularly well-handled. All avenues were explored, either by the police or Our Heroine -- she might act flighty, but she is by no means stupid. Readers who like to play along at home will be handled a plethora of clues both false and real; I was kept guessing right to the end.

Compelling puzzles aren't always that easy to find. If you don't mind a pushy society girl detective and a lot of high-society stereotypes, you'll enjoy KILLER HEELS.

Reviewed by Linnea Dodson, September 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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