St Martin's, May 2004, 24.95, 320 pp.
After having dinner with one of her best friends, Molly Forrester agrees to go to her workplace, Zeitgeist magazine to show Cassady the ugliest piece of art in existence, one that The Publisher (that is always how he is referred to) has left in a prominent place. When they arrive at the office Molly steps in something wet and when Cassady turns on the lights, they find the murdered body of the advertising director Teddy Reynolds, a knife in his throat. Molly's first instinct is to call their best friend Tricia but Cassidy the lawyer calls 911.
Molly a columnist in the tradition of Dear Abby and Ann Landers sees this murder as a story that will get her a job as a serious news reporter if she investigates the case and finds the killer. Teddy had as many friends as he did enemies including a wife he cheated on and a mistress he also cheated on who happens to be Molly's boss. By the time she and her two friends finish their investigation; Molly is shot at and has become romantically involved with the lead detective on the case.
The first installment in what looks to be a winning series is up beat, funny and totally, refreshingly original. The investigation is fascinating as Molly first follows the romance trail and in mid-stream shifts to the money motive because she comes upon a clue that the victim was doing something illegal with one of the accounts. The heroine is an original and her deep solid friendships with Cassady and Trisha ring true and feel real. Sheryl Anderson provides a fabulous opening act.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner