DEATH TIDIES UP
After Colley's strong series debut, Maid for Murder (2002), featuring house-cleaning sleuth Charlotte La Rue, the author stumbles in her second outing, set in New Orleans' Garden District. A scantily clad corpse found in a closet turns out to be real-estate baron Drew Bergeron, whose funeral Charlotte attended two years earlier. This tale of blackmail, fraud and injustice offers little investigation, most of the "evidence" deriving from hindsight and gossip à la Miss Marple but without Christie's insight into human nature. Charlotte's circular musings and personal affairs serve to pad the story rather than add substance to the plot or depth to the supporting characters. Readers tired of the Big Easy as a locale of grim police procedurals, though, may welcome this cozy approach. Agent, Evan Marshall. (Feb. 11)
Forecast:The eye-catching orange jacket and impressive list of encomiums for Maid for Murder should help ensure solid initial sales.
Release date: 02/01/2003