cover image Amateur Night

Amateur Night

K. K. Beck. Mysterious Press, $18.95 (279pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-480-2

Jane da Silva, ``a kind of nonprofit detective'' in Seattle, returns in a delightful follow-up to A Hopeless Case . In order to inherit her Uncle Harold's money, now held by the trustees of his Foundation for Righting Wrongs, Jane has to solve another ``hopeless case'' (the trustees ``bounced her first effort on a technicality''). The conviction of Kevin Shea appears to fit the bill. As Jane's lawyer-pal Calvin Mason tells her, Kevin was found guilty of killing Betty Cox in the pharmacy she ran in downtown Seattle; his delinquent past convinced everyone he was guilty. But now one of the jurors remembers seeing a magazine on the floor in one of the crime-scene photos, suggesting there may have been a witness who fled after the murder. Then Jane stumbles on the body of Jennifer Gilbert, whose prescription Mrs. Cox was typing when she was shot; the second death lends more plausibility to Kevin's innocence. While tracking Jennifer's roommate, Jane discovers she isn't alone in her search; when her tires are slashed twice, she realizes the killer is on her trail. A likable heroine and gripping suspense laced with humor distinguish this enjoyable mystery. ( July )