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From Publishers Weekly
After solving her first murder case in 2006's Case of Imagination, former North Carolina beauty queen and budding PI Madeline "Mac" Maclin is swamped with three mysteries in this charming but chaotic second installment in Tesh's cozy series. Mac's search for missing eccentric inventor Kirby Willet becomes ominous when she discovers that he hid a large sum of money before he disappeared. Meanwhile, a production company comes to Madeline's small town of Celosia, N.C., to film a horror movie, parts of which might feature the exterior of the house she shares with her romantic interest, Jerry Fairweather. But a death on the set makes the thrills and chills all too real. Finally, Madeline puzzles over the mysterious deaths of Jerry's parents two decades earlier. Tesh does a good job of juggling the various subplots, though the plethora of characters at times muddles the action. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Poor Madeline Maclin. The former beauty queen wants the people of Celosia, North Carolina, to take her seriously as a private investigator. She has already solved one case (A Case of Imagination, 2006), and she now has an office. She is also drifting toward romance with her friend Jerry Fairweather, despite his status as a relatively harmless scam artist. Things start to heat up when Madeline is hired to find eccentric inventor Kirby Willet, who left a box of money in Frannie Thomas' house. Then Voltage Films director Josh Gaskins comes to town to make a horror movie and thinks that Jerry's house is the perfect location. As if that weren't enough, the Pageantoids, rabid fans from Madeline's beauty-queen days, show up and try to recruit her for a new pageant. When Gaskins is murdered, Madeline finds herself in the middle of a murder case. Fans of Joan Hess' Maggody series will be happy to find a new sleuth on the screwball southern cozy beat. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Mac's other two cases are professional. She searches for inventor Kirby Willet, who vanished without a trace but not before he hid a large cache of money. Her other investigation involves the poison death of director Josh Gaskin at a horror film shooting at a "bat" house inherited by Jerry from his late uncle. However, as she finds a wealth of suspects in the Gaskin homicide, Mac begins to see ties to her other investigations, but doubts the puzzles could mesh so well together.
Though difficult to keep score of the support cast as Mac is fully employed with her three cases, she is a delightful protagonist who holds the several subplots together and in fact brings them into a cohesive private investigative thriller. Readers will enjoy the former beauty queen's laments about no respect for her brain, which contrary to popular opinion is four-times her bra size. The inquiries are cleverly designed to bring out the best and worst traits of the heroine.