Books by Margaret Chittenden

DYING TO SEE YOU by Margaret Chittenden
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 2000

"Very little here has the power to convince. All the characters, including Charlie, seem as unreal as the blithe, upbeat narration and the muddled plot. Charlie has done better—and so can you."
California's Charlotte (Charlie) Plato and handsome TV cowboy Zachary Hunter, her partner in CHAPS, a western-style bar and tavern, have rented the place for one night to Charlie's best friend Savanna for her 20th high-school reunion. All is going well at the party, including several auctions for dates, when Charlie discovers the party's honoree, 50-ish teacher Reina Diaz, in the ladies' room—strangled and clutching a photograph of her much younger self. Savanna's husband, Police Detective Taylor Bristow, is conveniently on hand to take charge, while Charlie, who's been down this road before (Don't Forget to Die, 1999, etc.), starts to investigate on her own. It's unremarkable that Reina was getting anonymous phone calls and unsigned deliveries of roses; far more startling is the news that 20 years before she had given birth to a daughter she would never see again. Charlie talks to the alumni—Kalesha Jones, the African-American wife of Welsh doctor Owen Jones; businessman Forrest Kenyon; and pastor Thad O'Connor, among others—seeking a motive that turns out to lie deep in the past. It takes her best efforts, and a little help from Zach, to dredge up the unconvincing solution. Read full book review >
DEAD MEN DON'T DANCE by Margaret Chittenden
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 1, 1997

Better cast your vote for Bellamy Park (Cal.) Town Council early—the field of candidates is narrowing fast. The first hopeful to drop out is Bellamy Park Bank President Gerald Senerac, a perennial cold fish (his one issue: the town's crying need for more shopping malls) who's become even colder and stiffer since he's been riding around in the trunk of his opponent Zack Hunter's new car. The police would like to pull Zack, a former TV star who played everybody's favorite small-town cop, out of the race and into prison; but the next candidate to retire from competition is Opal Quince, who wasn't even running in the same race. Charlie Plato, Zack's campaign manager and partner in a country-western tavern, figures his name recognition will make him a shoo-in if only she can keep him out of stir. But Zack's got even more motives than political rivalry with Senerac, as he reveals when he proffers his alibi: He was spending the night with the stiff's gorgeous wife. (Other victims of the irresistible Hunter charm include drugstore fan Adorin' Lauren Deakins, medical office manager Mary Grace Nolan, and—well, you get the idea.) Looks like Charlie will have to elude the second- best embraces of buffed, amorous gym-owner Marsh Pollock long enough to dig into Zack's past and come up with the hoary true motive, and a nicely hidden killer. Charlie's second (Dying to Sing, not reviewed) delivers the authentic, if minor, pleasures of the stand-by-your-man formula. Read full book review >