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Painted Lady Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Worldwide Library; Reprint edition (April 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373264887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373264889
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 10.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,455,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the reasons I enjoy reading mysteries is for the background: the settings, the characters, the specialized information. But even the quaint setting of "Painted Lady" couldn't save this book: the writing is amateurish, the plot mechanisms unbelievable, and the background filled with every novice trick imaginable. Lest I sound too harsh, consider paper with a watermark that coincidently assumes the shape of a murdered woman when wet--that's the crux of the mystery here. And then there are ghosts, which obediently appear during a seance and drop clues. There are the shallow characters, as well: the college professor who will poison and murder to get job security, but who only makes a cameo appearance in the book as a handy way to turn the plot. And what passes for background information in the Elderhostel setting is a repeated description of the cologne worn by the hero, the number of bathroom stops on the bus trip, and the contents of the daily box lunch.
I've read other novels by Peter Abresch, and found them mildly entertaining. But perhaps I've read one too many: this one was merely a bore.
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Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this latest entry in the Elderhostel mystery series. The story begins in Denver, where James P. Dandy and his ladylove, Dodee Swisher, have joined their group for a tour of the old Santa Fe Trail. When an Indian medicine woman falls, or is pushed, from a rooftop, Jim witnesses the fall, and before long a variety of mysterious characters are dogging him. To make matters worse, the medicine woman's image keeps showing up in Dodee's paintings.
PAINTED LADY is fun. Jim's a [frisky] rascal, and Dodee is a willing partner, so there's plenty of hanky-panky to go along with the OooOOOooo. History of the Old West is woven throughout. There's a legendary Mayan falcon with diamond eyes, a kidnapping, a hilarious bus-car chase, an otherworldly shootout at the St. James (aka Ghost Hotel) in Cimarron.
It's all enough to make even the skeptical Jim Dandy wonder: "Was there some kind of time-link between then and now, where the present and past brushed by one another? Like a light-link or light shift in desert mirages, creating an apparent swimming pool or water scene that really existed, but miles away from where it appeared."
There's also a true story about dandelions, which may give you pause the next time you start to dig one out of your lawn. Be sure to read the author's Acknowledgments, dedication, and Afterwords.
For me, PAINTED LADY was the pause that refreshes.
Pat Browning
Author of FULL CIRCLE
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Format: Hardcover
Elderhostels are trips that senior citizens take when they want to see the country or do things they have never done before. Jim Dandy (a part-time EMT/physical therapist) and Dodee Swisher (an artist with her own gallery) fell in love at their first Elderhostel and have gone on others as a way of being together since they live in different states. Their latest trip is by motorcoach traveling the old Santa Fe Trail but even before they start, a murder occurs.
While Jim waits for her in a hotel hospitality suite, Dodee conducts business. He sees a woman dressed in Indian clothing falling from the roof and is the first one to reach the dead woman. They later find out she was a shaman who supposedly knew the whereabouts of the Mayan Falcon, a gold statue with diamond eyes. Jim and Dodee notice someone is following them and a few a days later someone kidnaps her by someone who thinks Jim has the statue. After a mad chase by Jim and the Elderhostel bus driver, Dodee is rescued but the kidnapper gets away. When their next door neighbor is killed it's obvious that somebody thinks Jim has the statue or knows where it is located. Dodee is determined to solve the mystery so both her and Jim will be safe.
It's great to have Dodee and Jim reunited after such a long time away; the duo are even more down-to-earth and raunchy than ever. The couple is living proof that love and sex don't fly out the window after fifty or does brain matter dissolve. The protagonists are sharp and able to figure things out when younger and supposedly wiser heads fail miserably. PAINTED LADY is a charming mystery that gives the reader a good visual of the Santa Fe Trail.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
Let me start off by saying that I love it when I actually learn something while being entertained by a good book. For instance, being a couple of decades short of retirment age, I had never heard of an Elderhostel before I read Peter Abresch's superb "Painted Lady." For those not familiar, an Elderhostel is a tour-like learning experience for folks who want to get the most out of their Golden Years. Author Abresch is an enthusiastic Elderhostel participant, so much so that he uses his experiences as the basis for his fine James P. Dandy amateur sleuth mystery series.
The book starts out with a bang as Jim witnesses a woman plunge from the roof of a building during a mystery conference he's attending to be supportive of his artist girlfriend Dodee. Suicide or murder? That's the question that unfolds in the aftermath, and it continues to plague Dandy while he's trying to enjoy his bus trip though the West with a colorful collection of fellow Elderhostel travelers. Things start to get really strange when the image of the woman, an American Indian, turns up mysteriously in one of Dodee's paintings. The hardheaded Jim resists the idea that anything supernatural is going on. Meanwhile, he and the others are being followed by a man who may or may not have some connection to the woman's death.
Though "Painted Lady" tends toward the cozy end of the mystery genre, there is enough sarcastic humor and suspense to satisfy those who like a little harder edge to their fiction. Abresch is a master of little touches, such as giving minor characters memorably humorous names like Harriet Callahan and Martin Martin (not to mention Jim Dandy himself). Though mature, his characters are plently lively with their witty banter.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
He's a Jim Dandy! April 9 2003
By Brian D. Rubendall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Let me start off by saying that I love it when I actually learn something while being entertained by a good book. For instance, being a couple of decades short of retirment age, I had never heard of an Elderhostel before I read Peter Abresch's superb "Painted Lady." For those not familiar, an Elderhostel is a tour-like learning experience for folks who want to get the most out of their Golden Years. Author Abresch is an enthusiastic Elderhostel participant, so much so that he uses his experiences as the basis for his fine James P. Dandy amateur sleuth mystery series.
The book starts out with a bang as Jim witnesses a woman plunge from the roof of a building during a mystery conference he's attending to be supportive of his artist girlfriend Dodee. Suicide or murder? That's the question that unfolds in the aftermath, and it continues to plague Dandy while he's trying to enjoy his bus trip though the West with a colorful collection of fellow Elderhostel travelers. Things start to get really strange when the image of the woman, an American Indian, turns up mysteriously in one of Dodee's paintings. The hardheaded Jim resists the idea that anything supernatural is going on. Meanwhile, he and the others are being followed by a man who may or may not have some connection to the woman's death.
Though "Painted Lady" tends toward the cozy end of the mystery genre, there is enough sarcastic humor and suspense to satisfy those who like a little harder edge to their fiction. Abresch is a master of little touches, such as giving minor characters memorably humorous names like Harriet Callahan and Martin Martin (not to mention Jim Dandy himself). Though mature, his characters are plently lively with their witty banter. As a backdrop to the story, Abresch recounts the history of the Sante Fe Trail so well that by the end you'll think you attended the Elderhostel with Jim and his companions. It all leads to a conclusion that is both sharp and satisfying.
Overall, a spirited mystery novel from the kind of good natured author you'd like to sit and have a drink with.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Jim and Dodee hit the Santa Fe Trail Aug. 25 2003
By Pat Browning - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this latest entry in the Elderhostel mystery series. The story begins in Denver, where James P. Dandy and his ladylove, Dodee Swisher, have joined their group for a tour of the old Santa Fe Trail. When an Indian medicine woman falls, or is pushed, from a rooftop, Jim witnesses the fall, and before long a variety of mysterious characters are dogging him. To make matters worse, the medicine woman's image keeps showing up in Dodee's paintings.
PAINTED LADY is fun. Jim's a [frisky] rascal, and Dodee is a willing partner, so there's plenty of hanky-panky to go along with the OooOOOooo. History of the Old West is woven throughout. There's a legendary Mayan falcon with diamond eyes, a kidnapping, a hilarious bus-car chase, an otherworldly shootout at the St. James (aka Ghost Hotel) in Cimarron.
It's all enough to make even the skeptical Jim Dandy wonder: "Was there some kind of time-link between then and now, where the present and past brushed by one another? Like a light-link or light shift in desert mirages, creating an apparent swimming pool or water scene that really existed, but miles away from where it appeared."
There's also a true story about dandelions, which may give you pause the next time you start to dig one out of your lawn. Be sure to read the author's Acknowledgments, dedication, and Afterwords.
For me, PAINTED LADY was the pause that refreshes.
Pat Browning
Author of FULL CIRCLE
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Give it a pass...in fact, give the whole series a pass Nov. 21 2009
By Michael Edward Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If the Elderhostel mysteries were a TV series, it would be one of those "Murder She Wrote" style series, where aging stars drop in for a guest turn in a gentle whodunnit. Unfortunately, unless some serious changes were made to the script, it wouldn't be a very entertaining series. Abresch's writing has several serious flaws that ultimately doom the book. One is an inability to avoid product placement. One hopes that Dairy Queen paid the author well for the two page interlude with Blizzards. Another is an inability to write about sex. It's not necessary to be explicit in a book like this, but if your main characters are lovers, you have to have a better strategy for describing their intimate moments than a bunch of over-written, over-used cliches about crashing waves and running through the woods. But the most fatal flaw is his inability to write a decent plot-twist. Everything is so blatantly telegraphed to the readers that it makes the characters look like fools for not catching on quicker. I thought the Elderhostel setting would make for an interesting book, unfortunately, I was wrong.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
charming mystery April 12 2003
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Elderhostels are trips that senior citizens take when they want to see the country or do things they have never done before. Jim Dandy (a part-time EMT/physical therapist) and Dodee Swisher (an artist with her own gallery) fell in love at their first Elderhostel and have gone on others as a way of being together since they live in different states. Their latest trip is by motorcoach traveling the old Santa Fe Trail but even before they start, a murder occurs.
While Jim waits for her in a hotel hospitality suite, Dodee conducts business. He sees a woman dressed in Indian clothing falling from the roof and is the first one to reach the dead woman. They later find out she was a shaman who supposedly knew the whereabouts of the Mayan Falcon, a gold statue with diamond eyes. Jim and Dodee notice someone is following them and a few a days later someone kidnaps her by someone who thinks Jim has the statue. After a mad chase by Jim and the Elderhostel bus driver, Dodee is rescued but the kidnapper gets away. When their next door neighbor is killed it's obvious that somebody thinks Jim has the statue or knows where it is located. Dodee is determined to solve the mystery so both her and Jim will be safe.
It's great to have Dodee and Jim reunited after such a long time away; the duo are even more down-to-earth and raunchy than ever. The couple is living proof that love and sex don't fly out the window after fifty or does brain matter dissolve. The protagonists are sharp and able to figure things out when younger and supposedly wiser heads fail miserably. PAINTED LADY is a charming mystery that gives the reader a good visual of the Santa Fe Trail.
Harriet Klausner
Elder Hostel is now Road Scholar. July 24 2013
By Buffalo Gal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy the series since I have attended some trips. Never had even one murder on any of them. Fun to read.

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