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.)
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