Big Black Dog in Vallarta

Mary Branham, Author Sunstone Press $18.95 (94p) ISBN 978-0-86534-277-4
In her second outing (after Little Green Man in Ireland, 1997), jet-set decorator Sydney Reardon flits from place to fashionable place, enjoying vapid chats with supporting characters, gushing relentlessly about food and decor and trying not to let murder interfere with lunch. Sydney is urgently invited to Puerto Vallarta by her longtime friend Maude Adams, who plans to commit suicide. Maude has a heart ailment and prefers to make her own exit rather than deteriorate until her natural death. But at her lavish ""going away"" party, she is stabbed to death. Suspicion falls on beneficiaries of her will: son Rob, who thinks he was shortchanged; lawyer Hale Hoard, who collected unexpected riches; and Sydney herself, who got money and Corn Dog, Maude's large black chow chow. The story's suspense is numbed a bit by the chattering, idle characters, although the brevity and lightness of the effort are intentional: according to the publisher, Branham deliberately set out to write a series of mysteries that could be ""enjoyed"" on an airplane flight ""of reasonable length."" (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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