Christina Garcia y Grant, the heroine of Mari Ulmer's debut mystery Midnight at the Camposanto, is a multifaceted woman. She is formerly a lawyer, presently the proprietress of a charming bed and breakfast, and a hopeful author. She's also a young widow with her eye on a retired doctor who came to Christy's B&B on a sentimental journey (he and his late wife were frequent visitors before her death) and stayed on.
Christy's second, relatively bloodless, adventure begins with the disappearance of a young woman who is a gallery assistant and the discovery of a body during the height of the annual Taos Fiesta, which figures prominently in the story. While Ulmer's gifts at describing the magnificent New Mexico landscape, the multiethnic milieu, and the cultures and norms of Anglo, Spanish, and Mexican society are impressive, the pacing, drama, and suspense aren't yet quite as well developed. The mystery is less the centerpiece than the side dish of this nonetheless appetizing entrée. Fans of Tony Hillerman and other writers who've made this territory their own will be intrigued. --Jane Adams
Author/lawyer/sleuth Christina Garcia y Grant tackles her second murder case, surrounded by familiar faces from Midnight at the Camposanto. Dr. Evelyn Bottoms, a charming newcomer to Taos (and self-proclaimed "recoverer" of local Spanish religious art) becomes a suspect when one of the employees at his gallery/museum is found murdered and another goes missing possibly with some sacred art. Christy defends Bottoms, whose attentions arouse jealousy in her tenant, Mac, who helps out at Christy's bed-and-breakfast hacienda. Exuberant descriptions of the changing indigenous culture, local characters, and New Mexico surroundings pervade an exciting plot. Recommended where Southwestern mysteries are popular.
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