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on March 6, 2011
I have only recently introduced myself to the genre of the murder mystery but enjoy the potentially spell binding escape that books of this nature can provide. 'Deadly Mementos' does not disappoint.

At the heart of the novel is an intersection of the past and present with murder and family linking the two. Secrets thought buried in the past, announce themselves anew when a favourite aunt's 'memory box' is opened. Watching the puzzle slowly but surely fit together as protagonist Sara Porter sifts through the pieces was compelling as the author plots and draws the reader into this story of families and communities tied together by murderous secrets.

I was captivated by the references to certain Toronto residential areas and cottage country, introduced to leadership strategies (Ms Bendaly's area of expertise), intrigued by the author's choice of music to which detective Keith Carson listens but always pulled back to the 'whodunit' at hand.

'Deadly Mementos' is a very entertaining murder mystery. I believe that the author has succeeded in spinning a great tale; a real page turner and one that holds your attention
right to the very end.

All characters are deftly drawn, realistic and portrayed with depth. I am eagerly awaiting my next encounter with Sara Porter, Detective Carson and another unsolved problem for them to unriddle.
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on January 31, 2011
Anyone who has ever spent a rainy afternoon puzzling over a box of old family photos and keepsakes is bound to identify immediately with the quest of Sara Porter.

Sarah's search through her deceased aunt's collection of mementos leads her from current events taking place in Toronto, that of a murder, back to connected happenings in the early days of her aunt's youth in Muskoka. Sarah's own life is full of danger, and she finds herself a suspect in a murder very close to her. The other half of this new pair of detectives, Keith Carson, tries to sort out the clues in his own style, setting up a counterpoint to Sarah's search.

Her aunt has pointed the way, and Sarah won't give up. Bravely she threads her way through the maze of contradictory messages from others involved in the story, with Carson adding his wry notes to the dialogue, until she is finally puts the record straight, and reveals the story hidden in her aunt's box of photos and clippings.

Bendaly has woven a compelling mystery with these two, Sarah Porter and Keith Carter in the city and the cottage country. A second novel in the works promises to deliver more intrigue to be explored in a brand new setting,one that is exotic and yet familiar to the creator of Carson and Porter.
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on November 20, 2010
A suicide with mysterious undertones launches this crime novel with a bang. Problem is, the old woman has left her niece Sara Porter a box of very confusing keepsakes. All these yellowed letters, newspaper clippings, and mementos from cottage life in post-World War II Ontario must mean something. Also suspicious is that the woman's best "friend" for over seventy years, a respected judge awarded the Order of Canada, also died of "natural causes" at nearly the same time in another location.
Hardly has Sara absorbed this sad news than her ex-husband's pregnant lover is found stabbed to death in her home. Still devastated by her estranged husband's new life, Sara was a few fathoms into the wine that night and has little memory of where she had gone and how she got home. Detective Keith Carson, full of his own devils, plagued by a need for perfection and a rage against disorder, gets the case. To complicate matters, he's embroiled in a wicked power play in his own department. A contentious rival now involved with Keith's wife wants to wrap up a case more than bring the real criminal to justice. With means, motive, and opportunity, Sara is a tasty suspect. Is the twice-divorced Carson under the spell of this handsome woman or is she truly innocent? Not even Sara knows for sure. Disturbing dreams of knives haunt her sleep.
With elegiac finesse, Bendaly draws the picture of a time long past when an elite few summered at The Point with their own set of ethics, went to the finest schools, and ran roughshod over everyone in their way to the top. "Its beach was a short stretch of clay shoreline. It faced east, having traded evening sunsets for moments when it could bask in the warm morning sun. A floating dock bobbed lazily a few feet off shore. Small piles of gray, fine sand that rested in the crevices between tree roots and under fallen tree trunks...attested to someone's attempt to create a sandy beach for children's play." Visitors to Muskoka knows this vanishing world.
As a third complication, someone is stalking Sara and collecting clues linking her to the murder. A tell-tale cologne ramps up the suspense. As the books draws to a terrifying close, Sara must take matters into her own hands to save her daughter from a clever puppet master who knows not only the secrets of the past but the key to the present.
Bendaly is a respected non-fiction author in the business field, with several books on leadership. She knows only too well the games in corporate finance and the ruthless actions of the chosen few. The boardroom battles for status have been part of her life. The bustling metropolitan area of Toronto is also her bailiwick and functions as a character itself.
Keith Carson and Sara Porter make a compelling team. And the best news is that Bendaly already has a second outing planned for this novel pair.
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on March 18, 2011
Set in Toronto, Deadly Mementos by Leslie Bendaly is a good read. An old box full of memories, an unsolved murder, and a dead ex-husband all conspire to take over the life of Sara Porter as she tries to unravel a mystery from her aunt's past and clear her own name of murder charges. Lovers of the mystery genre will enjoy this female heroine and the twists and turns of a good plot with unexpected detours. The story keeps you guessing and then wraps up with a satisfying conclusion. The only unsolved piece of the puzzle is whether or not the next book in the series will find Sara and Detective Keith Carson pursuing the romantic relationship hinted at in this story. All of Bendaly`s other readers and I will just have to wait and see!
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