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    Review of SCONE COLD DEAD by Kaitlyn Dunnett (see her website)


    Kensington, August 2008

    Liss MacCrimmon is overjoyed that her former dance group is in town for a performance. She's gone all-out to find them housing, make sure they're fed, and has set up a cast party for the dancers and members of the community. There's only one fly in the ointment--the group's manager, Victor Owens, seems angry at the world, is talking of promoting one dancer because he's in a sexual relationship with her, and generally is making enemies everywhere. Nobody is too sad when he dies as a result of his allergy to mushrooms, but when Liss's friend, Sherri finds Victor's allergy EpiPen wiped and hidden the 'accident' becomes a murder investigation.

    Police Detective Gordon Tandy knows Liss is the only local who knows the dancers. He also knows she's smart and helped an earlier investigation. It doesn't hurt that he finds her very attractive. Asking for her help couldn't hurt, could it? Before either of them know what's happening, Liss plunges into the investigation, talking to the various dancers and musicians, looking for reasons beyond Victor's obnoxiousness why someone might have killed him.

    Author Kaitlyn Dunnett doesn't quite click in this promising mystery. The Maine setting is interesting, the Scottish Emporium in a small-town a bit hard to swallow, and the murder in a Scottish dance setting intriguing. Still, for all of Liss's investigation, she never really seems to turn up clues. Liss has been a victim of attempted murder in the past, but she wanders into dangerous situations and disregards her safety. I found her motivation for throwing herself into the mystery a bit underdone. Finally, the love triangle between Liss, Detective Tandy and local builder Dan Ruskin made me uncomfortable--although maybe that's just my personal preferences.

    After an awkward start, Dunnett's writing settles down and the story moves along. Still, SCONE COLD DEAD struggles to reach merely average.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 12/23/08

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