BIRTHDAY PARTY by Marne Davis Kellogg


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As readers of her previous adventures know, Lilly Bennett (Nothing But Gossip, 1998, etc.) may be a marshall out West but all resemblance to Marshall Dillon ends there. As a member of a prominent local family, Lilly is equally comfortable enforcing the law and the flashy principles of frontier fashion. At an exclusive charity dinner she’s attending, a shotgun-toting assassin blows a gaping hole in the chest of one of the guests. Lilly gives chase in a tight-fitting Yves Saint Laurent suit, losing the race and her family’s helicopter to the more sensibly dressed killer. The disrupted dinner was in honor of the venerable and venomous Adelaide L. Johnson. Someone apparently has a deadly grudge against the Johnsons, owners of a powerful real-estate company (calling the company “rapacious” would be redundant, according to local political perspective). In her home territory of Roundup, Wyoming, Lilly rides herd on land developers and politicians, feuding families, a transgender rodeo star, and a crazy old woman in a Scottish castle. But she finds her investigations moving from little ol’ Roundup, which normally operates like a cross between Dallas and Gunsmoke, to Las Vegas, which makes even those shenanigans look small-time. Between flirting with Wayne Newton and hitchhiking out of the desert, Lilly must figure out how the Mob and a glamorous troop of showgirls fit in. No one ever criticizes tall tales for improbability and contrivance, so we’ll give Lilly the Marshall the same break we give Babe the Blue Ox. Overall: an entertaining, if highly fantastical, urban western mystery. The only feathers ruffled are on the boas the showgirls wear.

Pub Date: Dec. 28th, 1999
ISBN: 0-385-49333-9
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1999


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