by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Watching the Detectives, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Ellison Russell didn’t want to refuse a request from handsome attorney Hunter Tafft, even if that meant allowing his ex-wife to make a bid on redecorating Ellison’s study. However much Hunter may have helped to keep Ellison out of jail, it’s definitely not worth her putting up with Khaki White’s inappropriate and intrusive comments. Before Ellison can formally reject the decorator’s suggestions, a frantic phone call from the housekeeper forces Ellison to leave Khaki alone in the house. It’s only been four days since Ellison was attacked by a homicidal clown, so she’s not exactly prepared to tell the police she has just returned home to discover that Mrs. White has been killed in the study by a revolver.
Ellison’s life is not a game, despite the fact that she also finds Mr. White murdered in the dining room by a candle stick. It’s a miracle that Ellison retains her wry and black sense of humor, since life has recently dealt her a cheating husband, widowhood, a too-smart teenaged daughter, and an extremely judgmental, image-conscious mother. When a plumbing crisis destroys the site of a questionable benefactor’s party, Mother doesn’t hesitate to offer up Ellison’s home as the alternative site. Mother’s rule over the conservative Junior League ghetto will have her butting heads with Ellison’s own daughter and Aunt Sis, all of whom have taken sides regarding Ellison’s romantic future. Having staged his own rebellion against an attorney-filled family, Detective Anarchy Jones enjoys Ellison’s presence in his life; he just wishes that she would stay out of his professional cases.
The author perfectly captures the 1970s upper-class setting where couples play bridge, women belong to tennis clubs and have affairs with the pro, and Mr. Coffee is the source of high-quality caffeine. The prevalent elitism and sexism is unsettling and uncomfortable to read, and it’s impossible to read sections without squirming in righteous anger. So it’s a joy to observe just how strong and independent Ellison has become since the debut of the series, and how she uses her sharp wits and humor to give her strength. The relationship between the three generations of women has transformed as well, and as much as they exasperate, misunderstand, and perhaps disappoint one another, there is always an unwavering foundation of love. Ellison and her mother are definitely from different generations; Mother unwaveringly believes that by following society’s rules, she is keeping chaos at bay and protecting the proper order of life. In contrast, Ellison is discovering a new freedom that is not just revelatory, it is invigorating. The mystery itself is unsettling, and it completely upends Ellison’s protected and naïve beliefs. This continues to be an extraordinarily series that entertains with its satisfying blend of romance, domestic fiction, and mystery.
Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.
To enter to win a copy of Watching the Detectives, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “watching,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 24, 2017. 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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