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Strawberry Tattoo Paperback – September 12, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
Book 5 of 7 in the Sam Jones Series

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“FitzSimmons has come up with a doozy of a sociopath.” —The Washington Post Learn More

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If Bridget Jones could sculpt--well, forget it. Bridget and Sam Jones, Lauren Henderson's snappy artist heroine, share only surface similarities. They're young, English, and sexy, but Sam has a better sense of humor--dead-on and wicked--and a better wardrobe, which runs mostly to latex. In her third U.S.-published adventure after Black Rubber Dress and Freeze My Margarita, she lands in lower Manhattan with her first group show at an important gallery in SoHo. But the natives seem restless. First someone trashes the work of another gallery artist, the unpleasant (and according to Sam, untalented) stepmother of her girlhood pal, and then two of the gallery's employees are garroted to death. Sam is still suffering from culture shock. It's her first trip to New York, and her sardonic asides on Manhattan's unique denizens are worth the plot-skimpy narrative. But when she gets a bead on the killer, she finds herself too close for comfort to the deadly wire.

Sam goes to extremes--in her dress, sex life, and drug use--but she's as cheeky as a London tabloid. New readers will want to track down her previous books, in which she's on her home turf. If you liked Absolutely Fabulous, you'll love Strawberry Tattoo. And if you're looking for other independent-minded female sleuths like Henderson's Sam Jones, Sparkle Hayter's Robin Hudson, Katy Munger's Casey Jones, and Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan, check out Tartcity.com, a Web site devoted to tart noir, a genre composed of "neofeminist women, half Philip Marlowe, half femme fatale, who make their own rules, who think it's entirely possible to save the world while wearing a drop-dead dress and stiletto heels." --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

For sheer fun, sexy, impudent Sam Jones, a London sculptor and unofficial sleuth, is a great date. If you like brash commentary on current art, outr? fashions or touring the funky lower Manhattan club scene, she's for you; but if you prefer an intricately woven mystery, look elsewhere. This third in the series (after Freeze My Margarita) finds Sam in New York to exhibit her massive sculptures in a four-person show of young Brits at the cutting-edge Bergmann LaTouche Gallery in Soho. Crime seems to dog Sam. She's not in New York a day when someone throws buckets of red paint on a large installation by prominent artist Barbara Bilder, and one of the gallery assistants, Kate Jacobson, is found strangled in Central Park's Strawberry Fields. In a further complication for Sam, jealous Barbara's husband is none other than the estranged father of Sam's childhood friend, sometime-artist Kim Tallboy, now living in Manhattan. Sam the outsider becomes the confidante of many of the tense gallery employees, especially as she scopes out the club and drug scene. Henderson is quite funny comparing British tastes with American: while the politically incorrect Sam accompanies her snorts of coke with cigarettes and lots of gin, New Yorkers prefer Prozac and vegetarian slushes. And Sam never does figure out the arcane American dating customs. Henderson is a witty and observant writer, creating such eccentric characters, quirky scenes and bizarre situations that readers may forgive her offhand manner when it comes to plot. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st American ed edition (September 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609806858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609806852
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,826,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It was initially difficult to get the rhythm of this book (I'm American, and some expressions and spellings created little glitches which detracted from the smoothness of the read), but after a while, I just went wild for the style and humor of the main character. I can't wait until the next Sam Jones escapade!
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Format: Paperback
Over drinks at the most recent Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention,a fellow mystery writer with whom I had made several Los Angeles appearances, elbowed me and inquired about the identity of the stunning brunette holding court down the bar. I explained the exuberant woman was Lauren Henderson, the creator of Sam Jones. My friend was not familar with Ms. Henderson's work so I went on to give him a brief explanation of Lauren Henderson, Sam Jones, and Tart Noir.
STRAWBERRY TATTOO is a perfect Sam Jones adventure. It has everything Ms. Henderson's readers have grown to expect from her stylish and sexy protagonist.
Sam Jones is invited to New York City as part of a gallery display featuring the works of emerging British artists. Of course, with Sam Jones on the scene, one knows dead bodies are sure to follow. Sam, despite her promises to stay out of trouble, investigates the homicide. As Sam takes on Manhattan, everyone knows Manhattan doesn't stand a chance.
As with all Sam Jones novels, style matters as much as substance. Sam is a true original in mystery fiction. She is a strong, hip, and witty protagonist. Tart Noir is one of the freshest breezes to hit crime fiction in decades, and STRAWBERRY TATTOO is one of the best examples of this sub-genre.
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By A Customer on May 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon this book in a 5 minute book grabfest at my local library (with 2 little ones its hard to be choosy) and struck gold! As a 30something former party girl I was secretly wishing I was Sam Jones in NYC! ..I have never written a review for a book before but HAD to let anyone considering reading this book to DO SO IMMEDIATELY and order the other ones too because you'll be wanting more!
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Format: Paperback
Third in the series finds Sam Jones in NYC where two of her big mobiles are to be shown at a Soho gallery along with three other yBAS (young British artists). The fun of this novel is Sam's take on NY. From the wild cab rides to the hustle and bustle to the public ingesting of drugs, Sam enjoys NY and contrasts it with London.
She arrives a week early to hang her mobiles and meets the crew at the Bergmann LaTouche Gallery. Carol Bergmann is the owner and she is all efficiency and competence. But even her sangfroid is tested when the paintings of one of her regulars, Barbara Bilder, are vandalized in the gallery. And at the same time, one of the assistants at the gallery, Kate, with whom Sam was to work and with whom she felt an immediate connection, is found dead in the Strawberry Fields section of Central Park. She had been garroted and left dead on a bench. When the surly Don, who moves and hangs the installations is also found dead, Sam determines to find out who did it.
Complicating the scene is that early arrival of Lex, one of the yBAS, who had tried to stick his tongue down Sam's throat in a ladies room in a British pub a week before. Lex had been staying with Kate and now that she is dead is scared to go to the police and be implicated. And Lex had a one-night stand with another of the yBAS due to show at the gallery and she has turned into an obsessed stalker. Lex is very handsome but Sam is being faithful to her actor lover, Hugo. It is tough for Sam to do without her shag, but she manages with copious amounts of vodka and cocaine and other mind-altering substances.
This is a great read for Sam's views on things. She is a wild woman and lots of fun. Seeing the world from her viewpoint is a gas. I enjoyed this thoroughly and laughed aloud. The series just gets better and better.
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By A Customer on January 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a worthy addition to this series of mysteries. And the series is great. Don't be put off by the explicit sexual innuendo in the first chapter (though Henderson's hilarious when writing about situations that would be hard to actually visualize as anything other than grotty). Henderson's novels are sophisticated social satire, and her heroine doesn't just dress or undulate, she thinks and sculpts (mobiles, that is). Seeing things through Sam's eyes allows us as readers into a really alien world that we get to temporarily enjoy. In this episode, Sam does Manhattan as part of a collection of Young British Artists. Yep. We get to see both what a serious, absorbed sculptor thinks of her work, and her scathing opinions on others' trendiness. Note to publishers: please make the earlier works of the series available in paper. There's a backstory here that I want to know. Note to those new to series: I'd start with "Freeze my Margarita" [more on the London drama scene] rather than "Strawberry Tatoo".
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