cover image Faint Praise: A Jane Lawless Mystery

Faint Praise: A Jane Lawless Mystery

Ellen Hart. Seal Press (CA), $20.95 (264pp) ISBN 978-1-878067-67-8

From its opening, in which local TV personality Arno Heywood dresses up as a woman before leaping to his death from the top of the Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis, restaurateur Jane Lawless's sixth outing (following A Small Sacrifice) is intelligent and engrossing. Lawless, entering middle age and still mourning the not so recent death of her lover, Christine, is drawn into a dangerous situation when her old sorority sister Roz asks for help. Someone has been rearranging things in the compulsive Roz's apartment--a spectacular loft in a converted warehouse, which was owned by Heywood. Soon, the crimes on the premises escalate to murder. It looks like the culprit lives in the building--all of whose residents have ties to the charismatic Heywood. At Roz's urging, Lawless moves into the dead man's apartment in order to investigate. The residents are an appealing hodgepodge of eccentrics, lost souls, closeted gays, homophobes, cross-dressers and yuppies brought convincingly to life as Lawless and actress Cordelia Thorn, her irrepressible friend and sidekick, untangle a very complex puzzle. (Nov.)