By Cindy Blackburn
CreateSpace Paperback, 2012
Kindle E-book, 2012
Book #1 in CueBall Mystery series
This book was bright and breezy, an easy read that kept me laughing.
Opening line: “‘Going bra shopping at age fifty-two gives new meaning to the phrase fallen woman,’ I announced as I gazed at my reflection.”
The speaker is Jessie, the protagonist. Her friend Candy pokes her head around the dressing room door and says, “I hope my figure looks that nice when I’m old.”
Really, now, fifty-two isn’t that old, and it doesn’t bother Jessie as much as it seems to bother everyone else, especially Captain Wilson Rye of the Clarence, North Carolina Police Department.
And why is it any of Rye’s business? No sooner has Jessie paid for the royal blue bra and matching panties and hauled them home than her doorbell rings. Candy’s handsome fiancé stumbles in, flops down on Jessie’s couch and dies. Enter Capt. Rye. Since the victim died on her couch, Rye figures Jessie for the killer and becomes an unwelcome fixture in her life.
Jessie writes steamy romance novels under the name of Adele Nightingale. Like everyone else on the planet she has a work in progress. The working title is “Temptation at Twilight” and passages are scattered throughout this book, making it part of the fun.
Jessie’s loft features a roof garden overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and The Stone Fountain bar, where she likes to play pool. Not that she plays for money these days. She pays her bills with royalties from her novels which Jimmy Beak, an obnoxious local newscaster, tells the world are “almost pornographic.”
The attractive Capt. Rye keeps dogging Jessie with yet another set of incriminating questions. During a search of her loft he ogles her book shelf and pinches her copy of “A DELUGE OF DESIRE.” He admits later that he only read the good parts. Twice.
Jessie’s real life associates are every bit as colorful as her fictional characters. There’s Lt. Densmore, who’s deathly afraid of heights. There’s Bryce, the bartender at The Stone Fountain who keeps changing his college major because he can’t decide what he wants to be. There’s Ian, Jessie’s asinine ex-husband, and his equally asinine new wife. There’s Jessie’s cat Snowflake, who likes to sit on laps.
And there’s Candy, whose taste in clothes runs to mini-skirts and stiletto heels, who inherits money under the terms of her murdered fiance’s will, and whose old boy friend shows up hot to trot.
Jessie decides to clear her own name and keep Candy out of jail by ferreting out the killer. The denouement, while fraught with peril, is just plain funny.
Review by Pat Browning