on October 5, 2003
Claire McNab writes two different series of mysteries: the Carol Ashton mysteries, Accidental Murder occupies spot number fourteen in the series, and the Denise Cleever Thriller series. With seventeen books to her credit, McNab has established herself as one of today's premier mystery writers.
Captain John Trelawney fatally falls off of Sydney, Australia's North Head, a big tourist location. When the insurance company is notified to make payment, they also note one other fact. There have been a series of odd accidents in a relatively short period of time, all with big insurance payouts. Could it be just a coincidence? That is the problem presented to Detective Inspector Carol Ashton. Oh yes, and she is also ordered to solve the crime quickly so her supervisor can take all the credit. Ashton is more than up to the challenge, even as she deals with her cherished Aunt Sarah's cancer and the question of "commitment" with her current flame. Fortunately, she has the assistance of her friend and colleague, Detective Sergeant Mark Bourke:
"Bourke's fingers tapped the keys. He frowned at the screen, made a correction, then said, 'I'm thinking there might be some sort of connection to the insurance companies. How about an employee who's assessing possible clients and passing the information on to X?' 'That's possible, although that would be a security risk for X. The more people involved, the more dangerous it becomes. Okay, the next question is how X approaches the potential client. How would you go about that?'"
Accidental Murder is a well scripted, and very well written mystery. Claire McNab deftly takes the reader through an insurance quagmire, replete with interesting characters, personal side trips of Carol Ashton's, and a general whodunit atmosphere. She gives up the killer just a little before the end of the story, but adds spice with an excellent denouement. All in all, Carol Ashton is an attractive character who gets the job done using police skills that are admirable. She is, at the heart of things, a decent human being who cares about the important people in her life. We want to know how she is going to handle the challenges that come her way, and cheer for her when she solves the puzzle and overcomes the bad guys. An entertaining read.
on November 14, 2002
Having read all titles in this series - and been frustrated by the last few -- I began this latest with high hopes. Hopes that Carol Ashton would finally begin putting together the experiences and lessons of the past and display some personal insight;. hopes that Carol and Sybil would finally have a real conversation about the nature of their relationship and feelings for each other; hopes that there would be a love scene that didn't read like "Slam, bang, thank-you-mam;" hopes that Carol would move from being the thoroughly frustrating character she became as the series progressed. I was much too optimistic (my fault, I admit) and once again had a mystery wherin I knew who the killer was pretty darn quick, .. The promise of the series best titles -- "Lessons In Murder,""Fatal Reunion," "Body Guard," and "Inner Circle" -- has been wasted. I gave No.14 three stars only because of the initial promise it showed.
on February 24, 2003
Is it my imagination or is Carol Ashton becoming non-descript as she - and the series - grows older? There wasn't much to this book - not much plot, not much mystery, not much character development. I keep reading the books in this series because hope springs eternal - that Claire McNab will be able to find the writing skills she exhibited in the first three or four outings, that Carol Ashton will develop into a real person, that her character will grow and become interesting once again. But once again, I was disappointed.
If you want to read a decent book by Claire McNab, read her new series featuring Denise Cheever. That is where McNab seems to be putting her creative writing to best use these days.
on November 10, 2003
I feel like every other book in this series is decent, kind of like the Star Trek movies. This book is better than the last one but not by much. Claire McNab does have an annoying habit of ending her books rather abruptly. This one is no exception. I am tired of her "relationships" which have been boring since she broke up with Sybil for unrealistic reasons. The sex scenes (they don't seem loving enough to call them love scenes) are as abrupt as her endings. The mysteries really aren't very compelling & haven't been since about book 5. The other series isn't much better. I'm not sure what the deal is but the only people I care about in these books are her aunt & her cat.