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Deadly Pleasure Mass Market Paperback – 1 Mar 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
The action is fastpace enough to keep the pages turning, the love story better than in other books by this author. This series seems to be inspired by J.D Robbs "In Death" series. It does not promise to be as good - but certainly good enough. I liked it - and the series form certainly gives the author more opportunity to let the love story unfold at it's own pace.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"Deadly Love," Brenda Joyce's first mystery in this series, preceding "Deadly Pleasure," introduced the cast of characters who people Francesca's life. Miss Cahill also solves her first crime in book one, a child's kidnapping which could have turned lethal, and she begins what seems to be an intense mutual attraction with the extremely charismatic Commissioner Bragg. I panned this first novel, (barely 2 Stars), so many people, including myself, may wonder why on earth I would bother reading this second installment, which is an improvement, but not by much. It is because, although our heroine is silly, (at times beyond belief), immature, indiscreet, and melodramatic, and the mysteries are filled with too many coincidences to suit my taste, the secondary characters are absolutely fascinating. Their ongoing stories do make these books worth reading - very light reading, mind you!
Francesca had calling/business cards printed by Tiffany reading, "Francesca Cahill, Crime-Solver Extraordinaire, No. 810 Fifth Avenue, New York City, All Cases Accepted, No Crime Too Small." Cute? Not! And she passes these cards out all over town! This is supposedly a brilliant, serious minded young woman of the upper classes, not a merchant's daughter, who wants to keep her sleuthing a secret from her family? I am embarrassed for her and the author.
A recipient of one of these Tiffany embossed cards, Miss Georgette de Labouche, leaves a note for Francesca requesting her immediate assistance on a most urgent matter. The matter turns out to be a dead body, the corpse of Miss Labouche's wealthy, longtime lover. The unhappy woman is more concerned with getting rid of the body than with discovering the identity of the killer. Fran sends Joel, the child pickpocket she has hired as an assistant to get the police. Commissioner Bragg is delighted to see Francesca again, but exasperated to find her involved in yet another crime. The attachment between these two continues to develop, but for some reason, Rick is unable to court her or declare his feelings, except as a friend.
The most interesting part of the book is the introduction of Rick's half brother, the wealthy rake Calder Hart. Actually the man is much more complex, which is why he is such a compelling figure. Both Rick and Calder are illegitimate, with different fathers and the same mother, and they do not get along at all. The relationship between these two, and their individual lives and backgrounds, are fascinating. Evan Cahill, Francesca's older brother, is another engaging character. He is a smart, caring man, but flawed - with a tendency to gamble and accumulate debts. In fact he has got himself in way over his head and owes a fortune. Andrew Cahill, the family patriarch, a savvy businessman and affectionate father, (pulled himself up by the bootstraps), has agreed to pay off the debts only if Evan agrees to marry a young woman he does not love, nor even care to become better acquainted with. His fiancee has unseen depth, however, and is a brilliant artist, but only Francesca is aware of this. Then there is Constance, the beautiful big sister, married to the very handsome British Lord Neil Montrose, who Francesca has discovered "in flagrante" with another woman. The clan's maternal force, Julia Cahill, is an extremely strong character determined to marry-off her children well.
The series' premise is a winner - a society girl/college student sleuth in 1902 NYC. But Ms. Joyce foundered badly in her first novel and has not improved much here. "Deadly Pleasure," the main plot, is not very complex or suspenseful. And PLEASE, if Francesca is supposed to be intelligent, work on her character so that she comes off as a smart young woman with a good head on her shoulders! It seems that more time is spent describing the heroine's wardrobe than developing a suspenseful plot and the principal character. In one instance, the author goes on at length about a peach colored evening gown. On the next page the same dress has mysteriously turned mint green. It seems that Ms. Joyce is churning-out a "Deadly series" novel 3 times a year. The results are formulaic and sloppy. I get angry because the series has such possibilities. Also, fans of light reading do understand the difference between quality and trash. Never underestimate us!
I am still intrigued by the Cahill family and those who touch their lives. Save your time and money with this one. But it is only the second in a series, so perhaps Ms. Joyce will hit her stride. The setting and concept, and certainly the characters, are worth another try. I will let you know after book three - and if there is no great improvement there, I quit!