St. Martin's, Apr 2003
Author Juliet Bodine writes Regency romances under the pseudonym Angelica Kestrel-Haven. Juliet is having trouble with her latest work because the hero is not the rake she usually uses. So when an octogenarian fan Ada Case Caffrey asks to meet over tea in Manhattan, Juliet, who normally says no, agrees as they have exchanged letters for several years. Ada has more energy that a teenager on a sugar high and gets Juliet and others to escort her all over the big city.
Ada also shows Juliet pieces of letters of the apparent memoirs of Harriette Wilson, perhaps the most infamous of the Regency courtesans. Juliet arranges for Ada to meet with Dennis Daigrault, owner of Rara Avis, a store that deals in antiques. However, Ada storms out feeling Dennis is short changing her, but also fails to return to her bed and breakfast while a blizzard socks the city. Not long after she is reported Ada missing, NYPD Detective Murray Landis has Juliet identify an elderly homicide victim who is Ada. Feeling guilty for failing as a host, Juliet begins making inquiries even as Murray searches for a killer and a lost manuscript.
This engaging Manhattan amateur sleuth story with some of police procedural elements adds realism to this fun tale due to Hurricane Ada. The key characters are a delightful grouping, but each feels the impact of Ada taking over the city and their lives even after she is murdered. SLIGHTLY ABRIDGED is a fine cozy that leaves the audience waiting for book three of the Muses mysteries.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner