MAGGIE NEEDS AN ALIBI

Kasey Michaels, Author . Kensington $22 (310p) ISBN 978-1-57566-879-6

Prolific historical romance writer Michaels (The Hopechest Bride) breaks into a new genre, thanks to an audacious premise with deliciously funny results. Maggie Kelly, midlist writer of historical romance, got dumped by her publisher when her sales figures didn't rise fast enough, so she reinvented herself as a mystery writer. Making use of her historical background, she created a Regency aristocrat-detective, Alexandre Blake, Viscount Saint Just, giving him an endearing, bumbling sidekick, Sterling Balder. Having quickly become a bestseller, Maggie is polishing up her latest when suddenly her two characters step out of her imagination and into her life. At first she thinks she's hallucinating, but she rapidly realizes that Saint Just and Balder really have come to life. It's one thing to write about the adventures of a gorgeous, arrogant and condescending hero; it's another entirely to have to live day to day with the man himself. When Maggie's former lover and current publisher, Kirk Toland, dies after eating a dinner Maggie prepared for him, Maggie is the chief suspect in a very nasty murder mystery for which she can't write the ending. Predictably, Saint Just insists on playing hero and trying to solve the murder, while Maggie tries to keep anyone from figuring out who (and what) he really is. Michaels handles it all with great aplomb, gaily satirizing the current state of publishing, slowly building the romantic tension between Maggie and her frustratingly real hero, and providing plenty of laughs for the reader. (July 2)

Forecast:Striking black-and-white jacket art with a dash of red highlighting the author's bestseller status will attract casual browsers.

Reviewed on: 06/10/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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