cover image Death Was the Other Woman

Death Was the Other Woman

Linda L. Richards, . . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $23.95 (261pp) ISBN 978-0-312-37770-0

Richards takes a break from her Madeline Carter series (Mad Money , etc.) with this winning hard-boiled 1931 whodunit with a twist: the main sleuth is not world-weary L.A. PI Dex Theroux, but his loyal secretary and assistant, Kitty Pangborn. Theroux, who drinks far too much to drown his memories of WWI, gets a rare paying assignment when beautiful, wealthy Rita Heppelwaite hires him to tail her married boyfriend, Harrison Dempsey. Kitty tags along, only to find their quarry's corpse, a development that Theroux wants to keep secret. After her conscience prompts her to tip off the police to the body, Kitty finds herself involved even deeper when word reaches her that Dempsey is alive and well. Well-developed lead characters, in particular the insightful Kitty, who shows potential as a series detective, more than offset the routine plot. 8-city author tour. (Jan.)