Christine Green, Author . Severn $25.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5783-5

British author Green (Deadly Errand, etc.) supplies light, fair-play diversion in her fifth Kate Kinsella mystery. On returning to the U.K. from a New Zealand sabbatical, the spunky PI learns that her best friend, undertaker Hubert Humberstone, has remodeled her office and found her a case. The client, Lorraine Farnforth, an admitted kleptomaniac, seeks Kate's protection from an unknown man whom she saw shoot a woman. Because the police have dismissed her complaints about a threatening prowler, Lorraine ignores Kate's advice to try the authorities again, and Kate soon finds herself investigating several sudden disappearances—and possible murders. Hubert offers his loyal assistance, including his Internet skills and his matchmaking services for his not-single-by-choice friend. While Kate's quirky self-effacing tone engages the reader, her detecting skills, alas, seem somewhat limited here. Hubert and David Todman, the detective with whom Hubert tries to set up Kate, carry out a fair amount of the legwork and brain work. Since the universe of potentially guilty parties is small, the revelation of the criminal's identity isn't a big surprise. When Kate's immature, unemployed and promiscuous mother pops up toward the book's middle, she serves only to give Kate cause for further complaint about her life. Kate belongs in a better story with more insight into character and motivation than provided by this quick and simple read. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/18/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-7278-7207-4
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