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Improbable Cause Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1988

115 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"San Francisco Has Dashiell Hammett, Boston Has Robert B. Parker, Fort Lauderdale Boasts John D. MacDonald. . . Seattle Has J.A. Jance!" -- -- Seattle Times

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance was born in South Dakota, brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, and now lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.
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Product Details

  • Series: J. P. Beaumont Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; 2nd edition (February 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780380754120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380754120
  • ASIN: 0380754126
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,433,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.A. Jance is the top 10 New York Times bestselling author of the Joanna Brady series; the J. P. Beaumont series; three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family; and Edge of Evil, the first in a series featuring Ali Reynolds. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Larry Eischen on September 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Often, either late in a "mystery author's" career or posthumously, the author is found by the "snobberati" at the NY Times or one of the weekly newsmags. Since these critics would hate to be caught reading mysteries, the author is labelled a "NOVELIST" by the critics and given a big push in the media. It happened to Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald, and John D. MacDonald among others. why wait until a deserving author is old or dead? It's time to give early attention to J A Jance. Her work transcends the genre and becomes a tale of characters-characters as well developed as those of a fine Dickens novel. In Improbable Cause, Jance weaves these characters into the story surrounding a dentist who is a spouse abuser. Why he was killed is plain. Who killed him becomes an investigation of sympathetic characters, none of whom you want to see arrested for the crime. When an ex-con is implicated, Beaumont finds himself at odds with his superiors who would rather settle for the obvious and easy suspect. In a rather unique ending, Beaumont solves the case and at investigation's end is covered with elephant manure and commended by the mayor. Although I had the killer figured early on (gut feeling, not clue finding) , the story carried me to the satisfying conclusion.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I genuinely enjoyed this book. J.P. Beaumont is one of my favorite detective characters. While he has the usual jaded outlook on life of a lot of fictional detectives, he does transcend the genre and is rather a complex person instead of the stereotypical hardboiled cop. In this book, the victim is distinctly unlikeable and the suspects are almost uniformly sympathetic. It's the rare mystery where you want the reader to know the answer, but not necessarily the police. The reason I marked this one down a bit is because Beaumont seemed a little flatter somehow here and the writing somehow did not draw me in as usual. While one would certainly not expect a "dark night of the soul" in every book, one also should not expect to see him flattening out to become "everydetective" either. If you're a Jance fan, this one is definitely entertaining and worth reading, though. If you're new to her books, I woul suggest starting with the first book in the series - Until Proven Guilty.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Karen Potts on July 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A dentist is found dead in his own dental chair. There is no shortage of suspects as he was disliked by many people for many different reasons. The trick is to find the real killer. The usual false leads are detailed until Beau solves the case. J.A. Jance is a habit-forming author. When you've read one of her books it makes you want to read the rest. This is not the best of the series, but it's not the worst either.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While I usually enjoy reading about J.A.Jance's hero, J.P. Beaumont, I was disappointed by the predictable plot and resolution of this novel. As a current Seattleite, I relish Jance's descriptions of my fair city which are both amusing and accurate. Try others of Jance's novels, but I would recommend skipping Improbable Cause.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rick on July 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another great addition to the series. Once again, J. A. Jance is able to mix the personal life of Detective Beaumont in with with mystery he has to solve. Slowly, I am adding each jewel in the series to my Kindle collection. I am looking forward to reaching the end, not because I will stop, but because then I will start the whole series over again. These are keepers.

Excellent read, believable plot. Many authors have a problem bringing the new reader up to speed with many of the details of the main characters life and this is when the experienced reader flips through the pages. Or the author get caught up in too much detail with the same effect. Not J. A. Jance, who hits just the right balance. I hope you are reading these in series, for they are better that way, and shortly Beau will interact with the other great series that J. A. Jance has, that of Joanna Brady. If you haven't started her series as well, it's time to seriously consider it. The interaction occurs at book 16 in the Beaumont series which is also book 10 of the Joanna Brady series and again at book 19 for Beaumont which is book 14 in the Brady series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dr. Frederick Nielsen lies dead in his dental chair, and his body isn't in very good shape after a hot weekend. His assistant is lying, and the detectives assigned to the case - J.P. "Beau" Beaumont and his partner, "Big Al" Lindstrom - know she is. But about what, exactly? And how are they going to notify next of kin, as they must before the deceased's identity can be disclosed (and preferably before it leaks to the press anyway)? Nielsen's wife and two children disappeared into a shelter for battered women several weeks ago, and the shelter network isn't about to let Beau and Big Al have access to Mrs. Nielsen. Nor can they carry word to Nielsen's mother, who is hospitalized with a broken hip and about to be released into the custody of her sisters - elderly twins who use their "harmless little old lady" status to keep two seasoned detectives at bay.

The prime suspect as far as Beau's superiors are concerned soon becomes Larry Martin, an ex-convict who was at the dental office when the assistant left on Saturday. Martin was there to install new carpeting, and his tools are still in the office. The company van he was driving was returned damaged and bloody, and Martin's employer says he's disappeared. But that does not seal the deal in Beau's eyes. He still has questions, a lot of them. And he's going to find out the answers, despite his bosses wanting him to get Larry Martin arrested, charged, and the case closed.

This installment in the J.P. Beaumont series features quirky, well drawn characters and a plot that's just right. Not too convoluted to follow, with twists that surprise the reader and yet make perfect sense. Jance at her best. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 science fiction EPPIE winner "Regs"
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