To say that Maggie Maguire's upbringing was unusual may be the understatement of the decade. Her father, the owner of a traveling circus, toured the Wild West, entertaining the frontiers men and women with his performance. As a child, Maggie learned everything she could from all the performers. When she was old enough, Maggie joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency, but she found her work a bit too tame. Maggie moves to San Francisco to join her cousin, who has started a detective agency. Normally, Maggie volunteered for the most dangerous assignments, constantly seeking a rush. However, Maggie accepts an assignment to locate a missing heiress even though the case has dull stamped all over it. She agrees to find the former Indian captive turned prostitute because she doesn't want a slimy relative to inherit. As she tracks down her quarry, Maggie quickly realizes that the case is extremely dangerous as various parties try to kill her. Maggie knows that there is more to this than just an inheritance and she plans to live long enough to find out what it is. MURDER AT BENT ELBOW is the opening gamut of what appears to be a fascinating, quirky, and entertaining historical mystery series set in the 1880s Wild West. The heroine is a peerless character who marches to her own drum. Kate Bryan brings to life the waning days of a bygone era in such a panoramic perspective that readers will see the good, the bad, and the ugly as if they are paying a visit. Ms. Bryan is a new talent, who exhibits the promise of one day being a star as she provides readers with a pleasurable debut novel. Harriet Klausner
I liked this book although it is rather unbeliev- able. We have a heroine who knows martial arts, knife throwing, trick horse riding and is an accomplished mesmerist; but, hey, it's all in fun. I though I caught a glimmer of Louis L'Amour in some of her characters and while I'd like some real characters, this was an entertaining read. I hope to read more.