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    Review of ON THE SLAM by Honor Hartman


    Signet, May, 2007

    When young widdow Emma Diamond moves into a new Houston neighborhood to live near her best friend, she hopes for some good bridge, some new friends, and some quiet so she can continue to morn the recent death of her husband. Most of the neighbors are nice, but neighborhood association president Janet McGreevey has earned the hatred of just about everyone in the neighborhood. When Janet complains about Emma's (indoor) cats, Emma joins the list of those who'd just as soon Janet drop dead. Still, when Janet dies during a bridge game, Emma can't help thinking that it might have been murder.

    With her best friend Sophia, and neighbor MaryLou, Emma decides that it's up to them to solve the murder. Considering that everyone hated Janet, there is no shortage of suspects. Could it be Janet's stepson, her husband, or any of the neighbors. Certainly everyone at the bridge game had both opportunity and motive. Sophia comes up with the idea of inviting the neighbors over for bridge. Over a glass of wine and some cards, people tend to talk--and she's certain someone will spill more truth than they intended.

    Author Honor Hartman spins an enjoyable light mystery. As a beginning bridge player, Emma has to balance her play and her sleuthing to be certain nobody suspects anything. Then there's the crush she develops on the sexy police detective sent to investigate. Mostly, though, friendship between Emma and Sophia, and their developing relationship with MaryLou drive the story.

    I would have liked to see a bit more complexity in the story--the motives for murder are pretty well unveiled at the start of the investigation and it seems like Emma never takes a false step in her investigation (even when she's investigating the wrong suspects, she quickly learns vital clues). As a beginning bridge player, Emma doesn't really show a lot of brilliance in her bridge. As a beginning sleuth, there's plenty of room for her to grow in this career as well. Still, Hartman's writing kept me involved in the story and Emma's friendships and her loss made her sympathetic.

    See more reviews of mysteries by Honor Hartman.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 6/15/08

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