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by Jill Edmondson
Castle Street, November 2009
256 pages
$11.99 CAD
ISBN: 1554884306

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

This is the first in a new series featuring an ex-rock band singer Sasha Jackson turned private detective who moonlights as a telephone sex girl to pay the bills while she develops a clientele for her new profession. Jackson's first big case brings her in touch with an unappealing cast of characters drawn from Toronto's high society and the art scene. Christine Arvisais's fiancÚ Gordon pulled out of their marriage at the last minute. Given her disposition one could hardly blame him but others do suspect Christine of his murder for the same reason.

Jackson's interviews with members of Gordon's family and with his business associates turn up some questionable financial dealings and when his sister Rebecca attempts to conceal her frequent trips to the Bahamas, Jackson is further led to speculate about the possibility of drug dealing. The real reason for the trips is quite unexpected and is one of the more interesting sidelines in the plot.

The most intriguing twist however, which greatly contributes to the plot development, comes about half way through the novel when Jackson reads about the death of another groom following a cancelled wedding. Could it simply be a coincidence or is this that moment when, as a true detective might, she responds to a gut feeling that will lead her to solve the mystery? Well yes it is, and Jackson also sees that the perpetrators of the other nasty dealings she turned up are brought to justice. Gordon's mother, the most sympathetic character in this story, after having lost a son, is rewarded with a happy ending.

Edmondson has a good ear for dialogue; however Jackson's smart talk particularly at the beginning of this story seemed a little forced and may prove to be annoying for some readers. Edmondson's protagonist clearly recalls aspects of other female private eyes such as V.I. Warshawski. Let us hope that in future adventures Jackson and her buddies can grow into a more distinctive Torontonian cast of characters.

Reviewed by Ann Pearson, January 2010

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