Thursday, June 24, 2010

Murder In the Abstract by Susan C. Shea

Title: Murder In the Abstract
Author: Susan C. Shea
ISBN: 9780803477681, Avalon Books, 2010
Genre: Amateur Sleuth
Rating: B+
Source: from the author

First Line: I was hiding in the third floor ladies' room when my cell phone began to jangle.

Danielle ("Dani") O'Rourke is a fund raiser for the Devor Museum in San Francisco. During a swanky event at the museum, an up-and-coming artist plunges to his death from an office window. Things immediately take a turn for the grim for Dani, when it's revealed that the artist took a dive from her office window and that it was a case of murder, not suicide. Dani begins trying to find out who might have a motive for murder-- a personal investigation that will take her from San Francisco to the art world of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In many ways this book reminded me of a favorite series, the Art History series written by Iain Pears that features Jonathan Argyll. Shea definitely knows whereof she speaks, and the information she shares about the often cutthroat world of art is fascinating, and I most definitely want to know more.

Dani is also a character that has depth and is very believable. Having a job that means she must dress up and talk people out of lots of money means that she's much more casual during her free time. She's got a finely honed sense of humor, and is very observant.

Strong, believable characterization, good settings, an interesting, fast-paced mystery, insider information... all this makes me hope that I will be reading the further adventures of Dani O'Rourke in the very near future.


  1. Ah, good old defenestration. You don't read that too often lately. Sounds like a most interesting read, one that needs to be on my list. Thanks for the most excellent review.

  2. Cathy - Thanks, as always, for this review. I'm going to have to check this one out, and one thing that really appeals to me about it is that the author shares interesting information about the field. I like learning when I read, so long as it doesn't interfere with the plot, and it sounds as though that doesn't happen here.

  3. I have not heard of the Art History series, but I will definitely have to check it now. Thanks so much for another recommendation to add to my obscenely long TBR list :)

  4. This reminds me of Dick Francis. I always learned so much about a topic from his books, easy learning while enjoying a mystery.

  5. Sounds like a great start! Hopefully this will become a series.

  6. Kaye-- You're very welcome!

    Margot-- It definitely doesn't happen here. Everything is smoothly incorporated into the action and the plot.

    Molly-- You're welcome! ;)

    Barbara-- One of these days, I'm going to have to give Francis a try.

    Kathy-- After doublechecking my emails with the author, there should be at least a second in the series, which is good news!

  7. Sounds like a good solid read. Thanks for the review.

  8. Ryan-- It is, and you're welcome! :)


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