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by Joan Hess

Pub Date: April 5th, 2007
ISBN: 0-312-31501-5
Publisher: Minotaur

Bookseller Claire Malloy (The Goodbye Body, 2005, etc.) passes the time during her fiancé’s visit to his mother by doing everything she can think of to annoy him.

Farberville’s Lt. Peter Rosen must be ready to tear out all of his adorable curly hair. While he’s in Newport (because his doting, obscenely rich mother thinks he should inform his ex-wife Leslie of his upcoming nuptials in person), the object of his affections has agreed to let the Association for Renaissance Scholarship and Enlightenment advertise their Renaissance Fair by staging swordfights outside The Book Depot. Naturally, after joining history teacher Fiona Thackery, her limp fiancé, Julius Valens, grad student Edward Cobbinwood and other ARSE members at Lanya and Anderson Peru’s potluck, she agrees to take a basket of goodies to Angie, a volunteer who couldn’t make it, and naturally, Angie is burned to a crisp days later in a house fire. Maybe it’s because Claire—barefoot, dressed in pajamas and slathered in green facial masque—has the duty of reporting the fire to Peter’s colleague Sgt. Jorgeson that she feels she should muck about the crime scene, read confidential files and pay the suspects late-night visits. Or maybe it’s because once he returns, Peter forbids her to investigate and sics Corporal McTeer on her to see that she doesn’t. Whatever the reason, Claire’s meddling doesn’t keep the case from dragging on longer than the Wars of the Roses.

Quite below average.