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Deadly Gamble (Charlie Parker Mysteries Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Connie Shelton
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"An impressive debut mystery!" -- Albuquerque Journal

"Charlie is slick, appealing and nobody's fool--just what readers want in an amateur sleuth." -- Booklist

"This is a dandy. Don't miss it!" -- Book Talk

In this debut mystery series novel, Charlie Parker, accountant and partner in an Albuquerque private investigation firm, is visited by her old school friend, Stacy North. Stacy's Rolex watch is missing and she begs Charlie to help locate it before her husband finds out. Things are complicated by the fact that Stacy had been seeing another man, Gary Detweiller, and he's the one she suspects of having stolen the watch. With a little detective work, Charlie retrieves the missing watch and all should be well. But three days later, Detweiller is murdered. All eyes turn to Stacy as the prime suspect.

Once again, Stacy begs Charlie's help in proving her innocence. As she begins to ask questions, Charlie learns that Detweiller's life was not as simple as first perceived and that any number of people had grievances against him. And before she can pinpoint the killer, her own life is in danger as well.

Praise for the other books in the Charlie Parker mystery series:
"A well written, by the book who-done-it that will enthrall purists. Charlie is a fabulous amateur sleuth." -- Midwest Book Review

"Shelton has created a lively hero in Charlie and puts her into situations that require prompt action and good common sense. A Charlie Parker mystery is always a good read..." --Southwest Book Views

"Charlie is a good detective and a pleasant companion to unravel a mystery with." -- Mystery News

"Shelton's engaging story, likable heroine, and comfortable prose make this a good choice." -- Library Journal

"Connie Shelton gets better with every book she writes." --The Midwest Book Review

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Albuquerque CPA Charlie Parker (female, despite the name) handles the business side of RJP Investigations while her brother, Ron, does the detecting. When Ron is out of town, however, Stacy North, who eloped with Charlie's fianc{‚}e, Brad, 10 years earlier, comes calling, hoping to hire someone to find her missing Rolex watch. Charlie reluctantly takes the case and soon finds the watch in a pawn shop, where the thief, a man with whom Stacy had been having an affair, sold it. Soon the lover is dead, and Stacy is an obvious suspect. Charlie sticks with the case and finds herself involved with still more murder. This is a well-plotted debut mystery with a nice surprise ending and some excellent characterizations. Charlie, in particular, is slick, appealing, and nobody's fool--just what readers want in an amateur sleuth. Look forward to the next installment in what shapes up to be a promising series. Stuart Miller


An accountant for a private investigation firm is unwittingly drawn into the drama surrounding an old friend's life when a search for a missing watch evolves into a murder mystery. Charlie finds the case increasingly complicated and beyond his control as events involve him in a dangerous ploy. -- Midwest Book Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 798 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1890768006
  • Publisher: Secret Staircase Books, an imprint of Columbine Publishing Group; Kindle edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002OHD1WQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,460 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, can't wait to read the next one. September 20, 1996
By A Customer
Charlie Parker is the character in this story and is a female
accountant. Her brother is the private eye, but out of town. Naturally Charlie can't turn down her ex-best friend who also stole her

fiance away 10 years ago. She unexpectantly shows up begging
for Charlie's help. Charlie really doesn't want to do this, but all those tears
and her own curiosity about her former fiance, how can she resist?

Maybe she did Charlie a favor, the beau wasn't all that great after
all, now she has lost a valuable piece of jewelry to a "new boyfriend" who
ends up dead. Who is the prime suspect? There are several suprises in this story. Written in the style of
Sue Grafton, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Acutally to be a first
book, I should have rated it a 9 or 10.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Hard Boiled May 29, 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked this book. Connie Shelton's style in this first Charlie Parker book is terse, bordering on the hard boiled. She doesn't waste words, just describes the scenes, and gives enough clues to point the reader in the right direction. The tension created feels real. I like Charlie, too, because she is a real departure from the popular Stephanie Plum types who never grow up, never learn from a situation and dumbly stumble time and again into danger, always forgetting to charge their cell phones or to tell anyone where they're going. Charlie is smart and a bit of a loner but not as emotionally isolated as Kinsey Millhone. So she's interesting and likable.
I liked the book enough to order the next one on my Kindle.

I've eventually read them all. They're entertaining, but after the third one, Shelton lost her quasi-hard boiled edge, and the series became solidly "cozy." Still fun, still engaging, but I liked Shelton's edgier style better.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read July 28, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For the first title in a series this one grabs your attention and holds it till book is read.
Charlie Parker is an accountant in a Private Investigations business with her brother. In this mystery an old friend shows up in need of help. Charlie agrees to help Stacy North find her missing Rolex watch, but ends up wishing she hadn't because of her past history with this woman. Stacy and Charlie were best friends until Stacy ran off with Charlie's finance. In a few hours Charlie finds the watch and boy is she relieved thinking she is done with Stacy, but guess again the man who stole the watch is found dead three days later. Now Stacy needs Charlie's help even more. Charlie's brother handles the investigation part of their business and she handles the paper work. But with her brother out of town for two weeks Charlie felt that she could at least get things started for her brother. Gary Detwiller was the dead mans name -- a con man with a lot of enemies. Finding the murder will not be easy. Stacy is arrested for the murder and Charlie has to prove her innocence's, but finding the real murder will hard work because of all the enemies that Gary had. Look out for a surprise ending.
This mystery was a very good read I can hardly wait to read the others in the series.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good debut novel March 15, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Charlie Parker, an accountant who dabbles in solving mysteries, is given an unusual assignment. Her ex-husband's new wife, Stacy, has asked her to locate her Rolex watch before her husband discovers that it was stolen by a man with whom she had an affair. Charlie succeeds in doing this, but meanwhile the man who stole the watch is killed. Then, Charlie really has to use her investigative skills because she feels that Stacy is being unjustly accused of the murder. This well-written book is the beginning of the Charlie Parker series, which is set in Albuquerque. It is recommended reading for mystery fans.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great dog September 24, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Shelton is excellent on dog behavior and does a wonderful job of describing unpleasant men. I love her family and her brother's obnoxious children. The food description is good and the New Mexico urban atmosphere is thick and convincing. It starts off with a gripping premise that sucks you into turning the pages. The missing star is about plot. I came to this after starting with "Partnerships Can Kill." Charlie Parker is going to have to stop finding vital clues in desk drawers and coat pockets where nobody else thought of looking. I haven't got to "Vacations Can be Murder" yet. Is there another one out yet or on the way?
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars good premise but cliche driven June 5, 2010
By Ann
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Charlie is a woman who reluctantly accepts an assignment at the detective agency co-owns with her brother. She is the business manager not the detective. However she does what any spunky woman does and ignores good advice, puts herself in jeopardy, repeats stupid moves and continues to make dumb choices until she solves the crime. Bleh. Give me a break. It is so cliche that I cannot believe anyone who had read good detective fiction would bother with this.
Try JA Jance's books for a good, well written Southwest heroine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars deadly gamble: the first charlie parker mystery February 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Choose book because it was free and found it to be a relaxing fun read. Characters are likable but the story is a bit too predictable. If you enjoy authors Janet evanovich or Diane motts Davidson then you'll enjoy the series. Gamble was refreshingly clean with very limited sexual content.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Loved this book! Couldn't wait to find out who did it, although I had it figured out by the time I got to the end. It's refreshing to read a book with no foul language. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars is this really a recurring character??
Oh my this book was so ridiculous, and not 'ha ha' ridiculous. This main character just was so unbelievable. Read more
Published 24 days ago by lnhmmama
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A book that will keep your interest...............
Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 28 days ago by CCC
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
I enjoyed this book, the first that I read of this series. I will definitely read more from this author.
Published 1 month ago by Bonnie D
4.0 out of 5 stars not a bad yarn
enjoyed it, a few novel ideas, but my kind of yarn.
Published 1 month ago by Siadwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by No
4.0 out of 5 stars A comfortable read, with enough twists to keep it interesting.
Charlie Parker is an accountant and partner with her brother in their own small private investigations firm. Read more
Published 1 month ago by jwals
4.0 out of 5 stars The Charlie Parker mysteries are some of my favorite. Having not read...
The Charlie Parker mysteries are some of my favorite. Having not read them in order, I could tell this was the first. Read more
Published 1 month ago by jt
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More About the Author

...Every 5 minutes, 24 hours a day, somewhere in the world, someone downloads a Connie Shelton mystery...

A personal Thank You to all my readers who make this little statistic possible. Having fun with my writing, and connecting with readers--that's what being a mystery writer means to me. And I LOVE what I do!

It began in 1985 when I started writing my first novel, without much clue how to go about it. Two years and 500 pages later, when I finally typed 'The End,' I felt a huge rush of excitement. That book took third place in the Southwest Writers competition and began making the rounds of publishers. I simply started writing my second, and then my third books.

After publishing ten of my Charlie Parker mysteries, I decided to branch out with a second series and I created the character of Samantha Sweet. One of the ways in which I earned a little extra pocket money during my high school years was to bake and decorate cakes--hence, a career for Samantha based on my own experiences.

In 2009 I switched publishers and was off on a new adventure, seeing all of my books made available for Kindle and the other ebook devices that were just beginning to take off in the book world. It's been an exciting time in publishing and I'm loving the new formats and the ability to personally connect with readers all over the world via my newsletter and my website at

* * *

Besides writing the Charlie Parker and Samantha Sweet mysteries, Connie is an award-winning essayist. Her work has been published in both small and major anthologies, including Chicken Soup For the Writer's Soul, and her short stories have won several prizes. She has also been a commercial hot air balloon pilot and holds the women's world altitude record for size AX-4 balloons. She has been featured in Who's Who and The World Who's Who of Women. She and her husband live in northern New Mexico.

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