Thursday, August 05, 2010

Pray and Die by Stella Whitelaw

Title: Pray and Die
Author: Stella Whitelaw
ISBN: 0727855921
Publisher: Severn House, 2000
Hardcover, 224 pages
Genre: Private Investigator, #1 Jordan Lacey mystery
Rating: B-
Source: Purchased through Amazon Marketplace.

First Line: "Look, is this really necessary? You know who I am."

Jordan Lacey was on the police force for a short while, but she's not the most politically correct person in England. After telling a superior officer what an idiot he was-- in ringing, bell-like tones in front of all sorts of witnesses-- Jordan finds herself without a job.

She decides she's going to be a private investigator, but she doesn't know how much call there is for one in a low crime area like Latching, West Sussex, so she adorns her office windows with displays of secondhand books and bits of glassware and china she's able to pick up on the cheap. More often than not, she has to replenish her display windows.

There's also more P.I. business than she thought there'd be. There's the woman who's lost her turtle, and the other woman who believes her husband is cheating on her... and then there's the body of the murdered nun Jordan discovers in an abandoned, boarded-up hotel.

Pray and Die is really a character study of a true original more than it's a mystery. Jordan is unique. She's fiercely independent, knows how to live on scarcely any money, and her thought processes don't always run along the same lines as the rest of us. This can be a very good thing.

She may secretly hope for a knight on a white charger, but she's more prone to collecting a series of misfits:

So don't come to me for advice about men. I'm a loser. Leave them alone if you can. If you can't, pick a good 'un. If there aren't any around, then get a cat and a library ticket.

Although I'm a dog person myself, I think that's excellent advice.

Even though I made friends with Jordan while I read about her and I did find this book to be a wonderful character study, the mystery was practically non-existent. If that doesn't matter to you, you should love this book about an endearing, quirky young woman. I do know that Jordan is such a charmer that I'm looking for the second book in this series.

Buy from Amazon.
Buy from The Book Depository.
Buy from an Indie Bookseller.


  1. Cathy - Thanks for this review : ). I always appreciate it when authors create really original characters instead of going the "same old, same old" route. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, even thought it didn't focus on an actual mystery.

  2. I like quirky characters. It's going on my list.

  3. Margot-- Jordan is such a winner that I couldn't not like her. :)

    Barbara-- I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Jordan has my interest..I'll have to keep this book in mind.

  5. A quirky misfit? You know how to sell them!

  6. I'm a dog and cat person & I agree with the author's advice too! LOL

  7. Kris-- I'm interested in seeing what she does in the second book in the series.

    Dorte-- ;)

    DC-- LOL! I'm particularly lucky since I managed to find one of the rare "good 'uns" !


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