Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Cruel Ever After-Ellen Hart

The Cruel Ever After
Ellen Hart
Minotaur, Dec 7 2010, $25.99
ISBN 9780312614768

In Minneapolis antiquities dealer, Chester "Chess" Garrity wakes up with a hangover on the lawn in front of the home of Melvin Dial, but totally clueless as to how he ended up there. The night before Chess and Melvin discussed a deal involving the Iraqi artifact, the Winged Bull of Nimrud. Chess enters the unlocked house to find the art collector dead from an apparent knife wound. Panicking, Chess runs from the crime scene.

Chess accompanied by art dealer Irina Nelson returns to the Dial residence. He is stunned to see the corpse missing, the house clean, and a ransom note addressed to him demanding $50,000 in small bills; next to the money are photos of Chess with the body. He pleads with his former wife restaurateur Jane Lawless, who has solved several murder mysteries, to investigate.

The excellent latest Jane Lawless Minnesota mystery starring (see Sweet Poison) is a great entry as Chess is checkmated by an unknown adversary. Jane is terrific as she works the case of her ex husband in which every clue she finds enforces Chess’ guilt. Fast-paced with a fabulous set up, Jane is no longer an amateur sleuth as she has been paid recently as a professional (see The Mirror and the Mask) since the economy has hurt her restaurant profits. Readers will fully appreciate this terrific investigative thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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