Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hunting Sweetie Rose-Jack Fredrickson

Hunting Sweetie Rose

Jack Fredrickson

Minotaur, Feb 28 2012, $24.99

ISBN 9780312605261

The Argus-Observer newspaper showed the pictures of the clown falling from a rooftop when the rope he used proved limp not taut. In nearby Riverton, TV reporter Jennifer Gale meets Vlodek “Dek” Elstrom while following a scandal involving salad oil labels. After she leaves, a limo carrying Tim Duggan arrives. Tim hires unlicensed private investigator Dek to look discreetly into the clown’s demise which is ruled a suicide. With a terrific retainer and an open expense account, Dek asks no questions though he assumes the clown committed suicide.

Dek finds a link to ex-wife’s affluent philanthropic circle when clues lead to wealthy Sweetie Fairbairn; who abruptly vanishes from her penthouse; she left behind in her hasty exit a dead security guard and an old postcard with a picture of a covered bridge. Following the clues leads Dek to Hadlow, Minnesota known for its humongous statue of Chief Winnemac and in Dek’s mind convoluted clues.

The third Elstrom private investigator mystery (see A Safe Place For Dying and Honestly Dearest, You’re Dead) is a great whodunit due to the protagonist’s wicked self-deprecating sense of humor. The case is cleverly filled with complications as the hero follows bridges to nowhere. On the personal front, he and Jennifer hit it off though he misses his former wife. Readers will enjoy the quips and capers of Elstrom as he investigates who wiped the smile off the clown’s face.

Harriet Klausner

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