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    Review of REAP A WICKED HARVEST by Janis Harrison


    St. Martin's Minotaur, January 2004

    Nothing ruins a party like finding a dead body in the middle of it. That's the challenge facing widowed florist and amateur sleuth Bretta Solomon when she attends the "Customer Appreciation Day" festivities put on by her friends, Natalie and Dan Parker of Parker Greenhouse. The dead young woman, a recently hired employee at the greenhouse, has a sharp object in her throat and a cryptic note near her body indicating she had scheduled a meeting with someone.

    Though the sheriff and Bretta have had their tiffs in the past over Bretta's snooping, this time Sid welcomes Bretta's help. He's facing a reelection campaign and wants this crime solved by whatever means possible. Also lending a hand is Bretta's father, who thinks it would be just dandy to open a father-daughter detective agency. But even without the encouragement, Bretta can't help herself, especially when a few clues just fall in her lap and the sheriff can't put two and two together. Soon it appears the victim had been doing some sleuthing of her own and died for her troubles.

    This was a lovely who-dunnit peopled with interesting characters, richly drawn and each with problems and a history of his own. I didn't guess the solution, though the clues were there. The crime itself was a bit improbable--I believe the villain's goals could have been achieved with far less trouble and intrigue. But by the time it all came together at the end, I'd been so entertained I didn't care. A clever and emotional story.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 3/03/04

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