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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Busom Bodies by Maria Grazia Swan

Mina Calvi inherited a software company after her mother’s death, but with no head for business, attempts to off-load the company with the help of her attorney Adams. While waiting for the deal to go though, Mina helps out a friend, Ginger, by agreeing to take her place at a local nightclub, Bosom Bodies.

All dressed up with a wig and padded bra, Mina pulls off the transformation, as Ginger had yet to start the job, running off to Vegas to get married at the last moment. Only Barbara the manager was in on the trick. Mina had time on her hands as her boyfriend was traveling in Europe with his mother, so the distraction was timely and she welcomed the chance to help a friend.

When Barbara suddenly dies, and Mina’s Volkswagen is apparently involved in the hit-and-run, the joke she was helping perpetrate suddenly gets out of hand and Mina finds herself in the middle of a mob battle with crooked cops, diamond smuggling, and murder. Add to that a mysterious new neighbor who is a detective with one of the Federal agencies and Mina finds herself in over her head and overwhelmed with seduction. Clueless as ever, Mina stumbles and bumbles through this second-in-a-series chic-lit mystery, witlessly providing proof for the police to follow at every turn.
If you like a lighthearted fun frolic set through a fresh voice, then this new series by Swan will fulfill your needs and garner the author a new following

Impulse by Frederick Ramsey

Frank Smith is a reasonably successful mystery writer, thanks to a TV series based on one of his novels, but that was a few years ago. As we meet him, we learn he is about to attend his fiftieth high-school reunion, the first time he has attended any of his reunions.

The boarding school he attended has bittersweet memories. His brother, a victim of bullying while also attending, had committed suicide and several of those that were responsible for the name calling would be there. Perhaps enough time had passed to see his way past their mean-spirited game playing by now. The school also had a tragedy when four students from that same year went missing, never to be seen again. Plus his daughter lived back east in Baltimore and he could visit with her and not contend with the rigors of the reunion if it was too much for him.

He was leaving Phoenix with a heavy-heart because he was becoming too familiar with mystery investigations. A local detective was investigating Frank in the disappearance, and supposed murder, of his wife, who disappeared on an evening stroll about four years ago.

Now this novel fits in with a rediscovered mystery genre, that of the old codger being the protagonist. One could easily imagine Andy Griffith in the starring role here. It is pleasant writing, with plenty of thought provocation, foreshadowing, and red-herrings. Of course Frank is challenged to do what the cops had not been able to do, deduce what happened to the boys that went missing fifty years ago. With his now-widowed childhood sweetheart helping—much to the horror of his daughter—Frank puts the pieces together on the missing boys, his geriatric love life, and finally faces what has happened to his wife.

The plot gradually edges along as bits and pieces fall into place culminating in a sobbing confession to finally make sense of mystery so long in the making.

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