A Bad Reputation: A Madeline Maclin Mystery By Jane Tesh

Jan 25, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of A Bad Reputation at the end of this review!

After successfully creating her own private investigation firm, solving multiple murders, and marrying her former college best friend Jerry Fairweather, one would think that Madeline “Mac” Maclin would consider herself to be settled and successful. However, Jerry inherits his uncle’s home, which prompts a move to the sedate and small city of Celosia, North Carolina, where Jerry’s past as a con artist and occasional fake psychic continues to reappear. Mac is constantly on her toes as she attempts to keep her husband occupied and out of trouble.

Paying investigations are few and far between, which is why Mac not only takes on the case of dress store owner Pamela Finch to find a lost letter documenting her lease agreement but attends a reception welcoming Wendall Clarke, Celosia High School’s former star football player now turned wealthy art designer and businessman. An artist and painter herself, Mac is intrigued by his proposal to open an art gallery in Celosia, but battle lines are soon drawn over just who should be featured and who will be making those final decisions. That Wendall has returned with a trophy wife while his ex-wife still resides in Celosia certainly does not help calm the atmosphere. When Wendall is murdered in the gallery, his new wife Flora begs Mac to take her on as a client, a murder investigation that Mac would prefer to reject but feels unable to ignore the lonely woman’s pleas.

Part of Mac’s reasoning for taking on a homicide case is her desire to keep Jerry occupied and out of trouble, as boredom leads Jerry into to shady cons and conducting well-intentioned séances. That Mac additionally hopes to distract Jerry from his new quest for fatherhood certainly plays a part, and Mac discovers that Jerry’s shady ties to the past can never fully be forgotten.

Although Tesh also authors the very well-written Grace Street Mystery series, this is my favorite as it so uniquely features a former beauty pageant detective and her roguish, childish, conman husband. Mac is the strong force and voice of reason in their relationship, yet Jerry always proves to be just as innovative and supportive when needed. Stereotypes are broken and clichés are avoided in this very fun, humorous, and at times sentimental, mystery.

Enjoy a video trailer for Jane’s books!

To enter to win a copy of A Bad Reputation, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Bad,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 1, 2014. U.S. residents only.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. This sounds fun!

  2. Sounds good, thanks!

  3. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



powered by TinyLetter