cover image Hanging Hannah

Hanging Hannah

Evan Marshall. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $20 (320pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-550-4

Three deaths, apparently unrelated, and a missing pop star slowly reveal their interconnections in Marshall's second mystery (after Missing Marlene) featuring the charming Jane Stuart, literary agent and ""North Jersey's Miss Marple."" A demi-celebrity as a result of a People magazine profile inspired by her first case, Jane finds her business picking up with the addition of her newest--and most demanding--client, the pop media sensation Goddess, billed in the press as ""Madonna and then some."" Meanwhile, Jane, a recent widow, has rediscovered romance with Shady Hills, N.J., police detective Stanley Greenberg. But events conspire to throw a pall over her good fortune. A grizzly discovery interrupts a birthday party for Jane's 10-year-old son hosted by her friend Louise, owner of the local inn. An unknown young woman is found hanging in the woods behind the inn-and the scanty clues point to Louise's husband as the killer. Later, an editor is stabbed to death at a book party for one of Jane's authors, and Goddess disappears. Even the wedding of Jane's assistant, Daniel, is an unhappy occasion when Daniel's father suffers a fatal heart attack. Driven by curiosity and compassion, Jane uncovers more than a few family secrets in her efforts to unravel the various mysteries. A rich, well-developed ensemble of neighbors and colleagues flesh out this fast-paced cozy. The satire on the New York publishing scene is fun, even if the ending is too tidy. Agent, Maureen Walters at Curtis Brown. (May)