by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the The Art of Murder, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Coronado Investigations is having a bit of a slow period, which explains why one-half of the married duo is taking a tour of Fort Lauderdale’s Bonnet House Museum. The converted plantation home is renowned for its artwork and gorgeous garden, and that is where Helen Hawthorne and her landlady Margery first spot the frail, but undeniably talented, artist Annabel Lee Griffin. It’s also the last time, as before she leaves Annabel collapses in the Bonnet House parking lot.
Phil and Helen now find themselves juggling two cases: Helen is hired by a devastated Jenny Carter to prove that Annabel was murdered by her lout of an ex-husband, while Phil begins working undercover to stop the cat burgling thief known as the Gold Ghost. Previous cases, official and not, have had Helen exploring the fascinating realms of cat shows, book stores, clothing boutiques, and country clubs, and now she enters the very subjective and ego-driven world that creates and markets art.
What has always been so enjoyable about this very well-written series is Helen’s often cynical and sarcastic viewpoint towards the elite echelons of Florida society. This time she has a far more sympathetic outlook towards the struggling artists, who are a mix of the gifted and pretentious. An interlude that allows Helen herself to don a call-girl disguise in order to assist Phil provides yet another enjoyably vicarious romp through ostentatious lifestyles, and it additionally highlights just how much Helen has grown as an investigator.
Along with her trademark humor and always reliably engaging characters, Viets continues to convey her obvious affection for Fort Lauderdale and all of its eccentricities. The Latin cuisine, local restaurants, FAT Village of Flager, Arts, Technology, and even the unappealing cinderblock condos of Little New York are explored for the delight of readers. Thoughtfully placed clues further allow readers to keep up with Helen’s investigations, and a conclusion that ties up the fates of all involved ensures for a thoroughly pleasurable and witty read.
To enter to win a copy of The Art of Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “art,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 4, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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