CURLY SMOKE by Susan Holtzer


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A second adventure for Ann Arbor's Anneke Haagen, divorced computer-whiz heroine of Something to Kill For (1994). Anneke's house has been destroyed by fire, and she's moved into a tiny rented cottage in Mackinac Court, a semicircular enclave of five houses and two cottages almost hidden among the city's commercial and university buildings. The oldest and largest house belongs to socialite-heiress Brenda Roper; another resident is boorish real-estate mogul T.G. Smith, who's working overtime to get the houses condemned for the construction of Division Square, a 16-story commercial hub. A fierce opponent of the plan, Rosa Barlow, almost 80, living with her nerdy, divorced dentist son Harvey, had died of an apparent heart attack on Anneke's first night in the court. Meanwhile, James Kenneally, a graduate student of architecture, is trying to persuade the town's Historic Review Board to veto the court's destruction. Anneke has barely become acquainted with her new neighbors when, in the early morning after a communal New Year's Eve party, she discovers Kenneally's strangled body in the snow. Police Lieutenant Karl Gennesko, ex-football star and Anneke's lover, heads the investigation. It's focused on a secret trip to Chicago, missing notebook pages, and the mundane weapon used in the killing. The solution, however, owes more to Anneke's intuition and some input from an antiques dealer friend. Dwells too lengthily on Anneke's resistance to romantic commitment, but well-drawn characters, tidy plotting, and a strong sense of place are pluses: an affably readable story with special appeal for the computer-wise.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1995
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's