Pocket, Apr 2003, 5.99, 224 pp.
In Denver City, Joby Sawyer runs a detective agency, an unheard of occupation for a female in the late nineteenth century. To hide her gender in plain sight, Joby tells her clients that she is just an agent for her father, a former Deputy US Marshall, who is away on an investigation or he is ailing. She insists her father performs all the sleuthing. In reality her indisposed dad is dead.
Joby is working on several cases involving a jewel thief, a murder, and finding proof to enable an abused wife to divorce her nasty spouse. Her only help is Chinese immigrant Won Li who thinks Joby is a lunatic especially when she tests new sleuthing ideas. As she works the cases, collecting the fee from a shyster lawyer may prove almost as difficult as solving the cases.
A LADY NEVER TRIFLES WITH THIEVES is an interesting dichotomy. The western historical mystery hooks the audience with tension yet often renders readers amused with the antics of the heroine. The story line is loaded with action while providing insight into the role of women especially through the gender nuking antics of Joby. In the final analysis, it is the cast that makes Suzann Ledbetter's tale one of the better sub-genre entries as they take the reader through a fun experience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner