Curly Smoke: An Anneke Haagen Mystery

Susan Holtzer, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (213p) ISBN 978-0-312-13458-7
Fire follows Ann Arbor, Mich., computer whiz and Art Deco collector Anneke Haagen in her second cozy outing (after Something to Kill For). After her house burns to the ground, she relocates to a cottage in an isolated courtyard dominated by five houses and becomes embroiled in a neighborhood dispute. The courtyard is the proposed site of a 16-story office park, but not all of the current owners are willing to sell. An old woman, one of two remaining holdouts, has just died of apparently natural causes. James, the most vocal of the graduate students who rent there, updates Anneke on the disagreement. When he is found strangled with dental tape, Anneke is convinced his murder is connected to the proposed sale. Convincing her lover, police detective and former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Karl Gennesko, takes a little effort. When the cottage bursts into flames, Anneke wonders whether the arsonist was aiming to get her to move or to kill her. Holtzer doesn't generate much heat in this mystery, but she orchestrates the elements well, setting her savvy sleuth in a recognizable Ann Arbor populated by campus activists and the town elite. Author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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