JUDAS ISLAND: A Bay Tanner Mystery

Kathryn R. Wall, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $23.95 (294p) ISBN 978-0-312-31387-6

Set in South Carolina's low country, Wall's cozy series featuring widowed accountant Bay Tanner gets better with each book. In her fourth outing (after 2003's Perdition House ), Bay returns home from an extended stay in Paris to find that her father, the Simpson part of Simpson & Tanner, Inquiry Agents, is making regular and significant payments to a mysterious visitor. When Judge Simpson refuses to answer Bay's questions about what's going on, Bay is stumped. How could her father be a blackmailer's target? Meanwhile, an old college friend of computer expert Eric Whiteside, with whom Bay started Simpson & Tanner, is killed in a freak boating accident, leaving a not-so-grieving father and a girlfriend who insists the death was murder. Wall manages to keep several seemingly unconnected story lines in play, building suspense gradually until things fall neatly into place. Her greatest strength, however, is her heroine, who exudes self-confidence whether auditing the books of a shrimping company or consulting a forensics expert. Bay's wry observation on how middle-aged women are invisible to waitresses if an attractive man is nearby cuts to the bone, but is made without rancor. Wall should continue to build a following among fans of older female sleuths. Agent, Amy Rennert. (June 2)

Forecast: Carolyn Hart, author of the light-as-a-feather Death on Demand series, also set in the low country, provides a blurb, but readers will find Bay closer in spirit to Deborah Knott, Margaret Maron's more nuanced mystery heroine. The atmospheric jacket art s hows a magnolia trees with an unidentified Drayton Hall, one of South Carolina's finest plantation houses, in the distance.

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 280 pages - 978-1-933523-70-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 321 pages - 978-0-312-93481-1
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-3128-1
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