The shock that Minneapolis restaurateur Jane Lawless is in for when Chester Garrity, her ex-husband, returns to a city that he swore he'd never see again is nothing compared to Chester's own. After their divorce many years ago, he took off with his inheritance to travel the world, leaving Jane with enough seed money to open her first restaurant, which worked out well for Jane but less so for Chester.
Now he's back and penniless, or as he would prefer to say, between fortunes. He's working an angle to make his next one by selling a priceless artifact recently looted from the Baghdad Museum, but it all falls through when he wakes up next to the dead body of his buyer with no memory of what happened the night before. Panicked, Chester flees the scene, eventually returning to cover his tracks only to find that someone has already taken care of that for him, but at what price?
One of my absolute favourite authors - and protagonists - in this genre! Ellen Hart is such a prolific, but incredibly consistent, writer and she seems to be able to keep churning out fabulous additions to the series - always adding a bit more to Jane's story without it becoming ridiculous and all the while still keeping Jane a bit of a mystery that you can't help but wanting to learn more about. The only reason why she doesn't get full marks is that there are earlier books in the series that are even better and maybe I missed more of Jane in this book as Chester seemed to fill up a bit too much space
An overview of the series so far: 1. Hallowed Murder (1989) 2. Vital Lies (1991) 3. Stage Fright (1992) 4. A Killing Cure (1993) 5. A Small Sacrifice (1994) 6. Faint Praise (1995) 7. Robber's Wine (1996) 8. Wicked Games (1998) 9. Hunting the Witch (1999) 10. The Merchant of Venus (2001) 11. Immaculate Midnight (2001) 12. An Intimate Ghost (2004) 13. The Iron Girl (2005) 14. Night Vision (2006) 15. The Mortal Groove (2007) 16. Sweet Poison (2008) 17. The Mirror and the Mask (2009) 18. The Cruel Ever After (2010)
This latest book in the Jane Lawless series offers a cracking good read. There are plenty of twists and unexpected turns in a well-plotted tale and the continuing development of character relationships and the introduction of new people provides a solid grounding for the vicissitudes they have to face. After reading many books in this series I feel I know and like Jane, Cordelia and their friends and families. I hope there will be many more to come. The surprising introduction of an ex-husband for Jane and a setting reflecting current international problems makes for exciting reading. I had no idea Minneapolis was such an interesting city. Anyone who likes a well-written page-turner should buy this book.