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by Meredith Cole
St Martin's Minotaur, February 2009
256 pages
ISBN: 0312378564

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Lydia McKenzie should be reveling in the realization of her dream: she's got a gallery show of her photographs. OK, it's not in a Manhattan gallery. OK, the gallery owner is a slimy lush who doesn't play by all the rules. But it's her show, and she's proud of it. Until the police show up and ask her about one photograph in particular. Lydia's show consists of photographs reproducing the final resting places of unidentified female murder victims. The police want to know why Lydia's model was murdered wearing the same clothes she had on for the photograph, in the same place, just as the picture shows.

Lydia is, as one might imagine, dumbfounded. The models she used for these photographs are friends and peers. Now she is dealing not only with the trauma of being the center of a murder investigation but also with the loss of a friend, the details of a funeral, and the closing of her show. A lot of women would crumble under that kind of pressure. Lydia does not. She decides that she has a personal stake in this, and she will pursue this killer on her own. Perhaps not the wisest choice, and Lydia know this but refuses to back down.

Lydia has help from her friends, although she is reluctant to use this help. It's obvious that the murderer is someone she knows, so whom can she trust? When another model/friend is killed, Lydia becomes even more determined. As she investigates, relationships surface that she was totally unaware of. This reinforces her unease about the people she considers her friends, people she thought she knew.

POSED FOR MURDER is the winner of the St. Martin's Minotaur/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. Readers who have followed the competition since the beginning, some twenty years ago, will recognize the fitness of POSED FOR MURDER as a winner. While Lydia sometimes does things that probably made the police absolutely crazy, her motives and reasons made perfect sense for the character. She does get into some serious trouble, and does all the right things to get out of trouble. Had she stayed home, none of the trouble would have happened. True. But the kinds of trouble Lydia gets into happen to women all the time, and she uses practical methods to save herself. Good for her. Good for Cole in passing this kind of instruction along, subtle though it may be. I'm looking forward to the further adventures of Lydia, who weathers this storm and has her eye on the horizon.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, January 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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