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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun But Formulaic!, 18 Sept. 2005
This review is from: The Color of Death (Mass Market Paperback)
Gem cutter Kate Chandler accepts the commission of a lifetime from Arthur McCloud, one of the world's foremost gemstone collectors, who also happens to be the President of the United States' brother-in-law. She does the job brilliantly, as usual, and is able to craft seven exquisitely faceted jewels "that burn with an extraordinary blue color," each one a uniquely different shape, from one rough, dull bluish stone. Gems of this deep color and large size are rarely mined nowadays. This particular rough had been in a private collection for over one hundred years. The newly cut stones, collectively called the "Seven Sins," assure Kate a major boost in her professional reputation, especially advantageous since her field is comprised primarily of men.
Kate's half brother, Lee Mandel, a courier for the family firm, was given the assignment to personally deliver the cut and polished Seven Sins to McCloud at his home on Captiva Island, Florida. A few miles away from his destination, Lee disappeared. So did the stones. Kate, who trusts Lee implicitly, is sure foul play is involved, and that her brother may have been robbed and murdered. Six months after the disappearance, the FBI still believes the foul play is Lee's - that he deliberately stole the gems and took off for parts unknown, a much richer man. Determined to discover the truth, Kate begins her own investigation with a visit to a gem trade show in Scottsdale, Arizona near her home. She is on the lookout for one or more of the seven sapphires she cut. She decides to delve into this mystery despite a death threat she received warning her not to interfere.
FBI agent Sam Groves, an outstanding investigator with lousy social and political skills, is in Arizona as part of a special task force looking for a ring of gem thieves. When he sees Kate palm a sapphire, (part of her investigation), he catches her red-handed, so he thinks. She sets him straight real fast. The two eventually work together to solve the mystery surrounding the Seven Sins, Lee Mandel's whereabouts, and to unravel what appears to be a leak inside the task force that has cost the lives of several jewel couriers. The more time Kate and Sam spend together, the stronger their mutual attraction grows.
Although "The Color of Death," is better than Elizabeth Lowell's last novel or two, it is still formulaic and predictable. There are few, if any, surprises here. The gemstone details, of craft and trade, are absolutely fascinating, and raise the narrative a bit above average. On the other hand, the characters, storyline and romance are typical of many of Ms. Lowell's previous books. I have long been a fan of the author's and loved her Donovan family series," "Amber Beach," Jade Island," etc., (also involving gemstones), and her historical fiction. Hopefully she is just going through a difficult period, creatively, and will soon be back on track, because I miss reading her "good stuff."
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The Color of Death
The Color of Death by Elizabeth Lowell (Mass Market Paperback - 6 Oct. 2005)
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