Five Star, Dec 2003, 25.95, 294 pp.
“The Deadly Ackee”. Nadine calls up her brother Theo, a retired florist, to chaperone his niece, her fiancé and four other college students on their Jamaican vacation. Fun and sun in the Caribbean proves tedious for Theo as the sextet drives him crazy with their antics. However, Theo soon finds himself in a deadly situation as someone poisons the pool boy with rum spiked with deadly unripe ackee and one of his charges has been kidnapped. The adolescent humor is amusing at first, but like Theo becomes a bit tedious until the homicide and the abduction take center stage. Theo, in his second appearance (see The Night-Blooming Cereus) is a fine amateur sleuth who would prefer to find exotic flora, but acts responsible even if it is dangerous. Tongue in cheek, this is an amusing reprint of a late 1980s tale that is fun to read.
The Other Stories. The four accompanying short stories blend humor with murder and mayhem to include a return to Maggody, Arkansas for one tale. The four contributions are amusing, contain a twist or two, and enhance the fine lead title in providing readers a taste of Joan Hess' properly cooked ripened ackee mysteries.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner