cover image A Hopeless Case: A Mystery Novel

A Hopeless Case: A Mystery Novel

K. K. Beck. Mysterious Press, $18.95 (265pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-479-6

Beck's ( Death in a Deck Chair ) newest mystery offers a neat twist as a premise for what could turn out to be a delightful series. In her late 30s and tired of eking out an existence in Europe, expatriate widow Jane Silva is offered a substantial inheritance if she will assume her late uncle's quixotic profession of solving hopeless cases for those who have no other recourse. Seattle, her childhood home, at first seems to provide little scope for the type of situation that would fit the criteria of the will (which mandates absolutely no publicity), but soon Jane is approached by Leonora Martin, a talented young musician who wants to finance her further studies by regaining the substantial amount of money her now-dead hippie mother, Linda, had given years before to a cult called the Fellowship of the Flame. With the aid of attorney Calvin Mason, another collector of lost causes, Jane starts poking around, despite attacks on her person and the murder of an artist who may have known Linda. Ignoring the warnings of the personable detective on the case, Jane continues her dangerous sleuthing. A good, clean writer with an eye for apt description, Beck has created a breezy and modern detective in a relatively little-mined setting. (Mar)