Avon, July 2004, 6.50, 256 pp.
Nina Collette Quinn thought she had the perfect life doing the work she loved and being married to the man she thought was her love buddy. One day while washing Kevin's boxers she notices lipstick on them; she confronts her husband, who confesses that he is cheating on her. She kicks him out but her stepson Riley remains behind with her. Her landscaping business, Taken by Surprise, is booming, but someone is stealing her equipment and with three ex-cons on her payroll, she has many suspects to choose from.
Her oldest friend Bridget finally gets pregnant and Nina is delighted though she becomes worried when she learns that her friend's father-in-law was murdered even though the police think he died of natural causes. Nina volunteers to help find the killer but while investigating, she almost is killed by one of the suspects. A short while later one of Nina's suspects is killed and her fingerprints, which she failed to wipe off, lead the police to her as the number one suspect.
Heather Webber's debut mystery is fascinating as the heroine copes with a divorce, a recalcitrant stepson who is part of a school gang, a business that is losing valuable equipment, and the death of a man who was her mentor. Nina copes with all these problems admirably and investigates the two murders although it means putting herself in danger. Readers will admire Nina and eagerly await the next mystery starring this intrepid champion.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner