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    Review of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE by Susan Kandel (see her website)


    William Morrow, May 2005

    Mystery-writer biographer Cece Caruso is in the midst of book on Nancy Drew author "Carolyn Keene" (actually a pseudonym for numerous authors) when her bookstore-owner friends ask her to deliver a vintage Nancy Drew book to collector Edgar Edwards. Cece is more than happy for an excuse to meet the eccentric millionaire collector. They strike up an immediate friendship, and after showing her his collection, he shows her something really special--a nude portrait of the model who posed for the original Nancy Drew covers.

    Cece is scheduled to give a luncheon speech at a Nancy Drew convention in nearby Palm Springs, and Edward invites her to use his vacation house there. Delighted at her good fortune, Cece packs up herself and her two friends, Lael and Bridget, a boatload of vintage clothes (which she collects, though she told Edgar she collected nothing) and head for a fun girls' weekend. Unfortunately, someone throws a kink into their plans--a big kink. A dead body. Edgar's body.

    The suspects are many, including Edgar's boy-toy friend and his majordomo; a wild-eyed Nancy Drew fanatic who wouldn't have wanted that nude painting made public; her less-than-honest, performance artist daughter; Bridget's new boy-toy boyfriend; a shi-shi art dealer. And, of course, Cece herself, who could have endeared herself to the police had she not insisted on solving the mystery herself. But her curiosity about the model in the nude painting, the artist who did the painting, and anything connected to Nancy Drew gets the better of her.

    The second in the Cece Caruso series is a fun, fast-paced puzzler, and Cece and her "chums" give Nancy a run for her money. The Nancy Drew trivia is fascinating, and the many references to vintage clothing makes me want to learn more. My one beef--Cece leaves town, twice, and stays gone for hours on end without making arrangements for anyone to take care of her dog and cat. I mean, maybe she did make arrangements, but if it was mentioned, I missed it.

    See more reviews of novels by Susan Kandel.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/21/05

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