Abigail Padgett, Author THE LAST BLUE PLATE SPECIAL A $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-89296-731-5

A funny, idiosyncratic cast of characters and a cunningly developed series of murders are the highlights in an otherwise middling sequel to 1998's Blue, which introduced social psychologist and amateur shamus Blue McCarron. Here Blue and her foxy lover, prison psychiatrist Roxie Bouchie, join detective Wes Rathbone and his wife, Annie, and Blue's Doberman, Brontë, in nosing through San Diego and the surrounding desert in search of the fanatic who is murdering prominent local female politicians. The murderer, who leaves a Blue Willow china plate as a calling card after each killing, is somehow causing women who have had plastic surgery at a posh clinic—where the blue plates are part of the décor—to suffer fatal strokes. Who hates successful women enough to commit wanton murder? Is it one of the members of the clinic's staff? Is it a political enemy? Or could it be a random religious fanatic who leaves messages from "The Sword in Heaven" (Isaiah 34) for Blue and the cops after the murders? Unfortunately, a buildup that promises a racy, risqué, zany story never really pays off. Some readers will applaud the feminist political sentiments, but others will find the novel ultimately as flat and dry as the desert sand. (Mar. 7)

Forecast:Padgett, author of the Bo Bradley series ( Strawgirl), has a strong following among feminist mystery fans, but this so-so effort is unlikely to help her win the broader audience her publisher is seeking with its concerted marketing and promotion campaign.

Reviewed on: 02/19/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-446-67868-1
Open Ebook - 978-0-446-56252-2
Open Ebook - 170 pages - 978-1-59995-429-5
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