WRITERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE by Barbara Burnett Smith


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 Aspiring mystery writer Jolie Wyatt has finally hit it big with an unpublished manuscript--but only because somebody has used her murder method (a pin tipped with nicotine, a weapon even more deadly than an unfiltered cigarette) to dispatch Judge Volney Osler, the patron saint of Purple Sage, Tex. (pop. 5,000). The local police and Jolie herself both dismiss the coincidence as impossible, but assistant chief Andy Sawyer, who gave Jolie technical assistance with her story, thinks she must be the killer (though presumably an unusually dumb one), while Jolie figures it's got to be somebody else who read the manuscript--one of the other women in her writing group. So, when she sets out to dig up dirt on the revered Judge Osler, it's no surprise that she uncovers an ancient land swindle, an abortive romance, a vindictive sentencing, and hints of second-generation political chicanery--all leading back to the pals who've been supporting her while she's been struggling through drafts of the sadly misnamed Murder for Fun and Profit. Though Jolie gets off a few good lines (she introduces herself rather winningly as a recent victim of ``divorce, America's most effective diet plan''), there's not enough going on here to keep you awake unless you're as much like Jolie as her first-novelist creator seems to be.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-11352-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994


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