by Victoria Blake
Category: Fiction / Mystery
304 pages; ISBN: 0425203093
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Berkley, Jul 2005, $14.00, 304 pp.
Private investigator Samantha “Sam” Falconer left Oxford to escape her ghosts living (her stepfather) and dead (her heroic father) as much from becoming a tabloid joke when she found the corpse of a four year old girl with no logical explanation how she did it. Sam fled to London where she opened up Gentle Way, vowing to never return to Oxford.
Her pledge ends when her brother Mark asks her to investigate the disappearance of London-based art critic Meg O'Connor who lives in Oxford with her husband John, Mark’s friend and the actual client. Before she can complete the case, someone murders John’s former girlfriend the horrid Alice Knight. When the police learn John was still seeing her, suspicion falls on him. Meanwhile, Sam is stunned by a letter allegedly from her deceased dad dead two decades claiming he still lives and by threats to her obese feline terrorist cat Frank Cooper. The sleuth wonders what links these personal incidents, the homicide of Knight, and probable murder of Meg.
Interestingly the current investigation takes a back seat to the heroine’s personal life that includes her world championships in judo (just ask her ex boyfriend how good she is), her adulation of her dead dad, estrangement from her mom and step-dad and Oxford. The hints of ghostly assistance on her previous case in Oxford are not explored so readers feel a left out (hopefully rendered in a future tale). The current inquiries are cleverly drawn so the audience has a taste of the city while Meg, a fighter to the bitter end of her fingertips, tracks down a killer, a prankster or perhaps her father, and other demons in a fine sleuthing tale.
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