In her seventh outing for Miami crime reporter Britt Montero, Edna Buchanan (herself an erstwhile journalist for The Miami Herald
) serves up a nice twist on a standard plot. The body of a beautiful naked woman floats in on the tide practically at Britt's feet, and it turns out to be that of a woman supposedly murdered a decade before by her wealthy husband. Most of the action focuses on freeing R.J. Jordan, the convicted killer, from his cell on death row. R.J., a handsome but decidedly unpleasant guy who maintained his innocence all along, isn't the slightest bit interested in apprehending his wife's killer. He's just happy her body turned up before he died for her murder. But Britt wants to know where Lily Jordan's been for the last 10 years, and why she came back to Miami just days before her husband was due to die.
To Britt's surprise, her own mother has an important clue, although it's all Britt can do to pry it out of her. Not only did the elegant, socially well- connected Montero matriarch know the victim, she even mentored Lily as she rose through the executive ranks of the Jordan family business. The new explications of the complicated relationship between Britt and her mother is a plus for fans of this bestselling series, who appreciate Buchanan's deft characterizations as well as her love for the city she has called home all her (and Britt's) life. As an extra fillip, there's Britt's growing relationship with the investigator who helped put R.J. away 10 years ago, a nice counterpoint to this ingenious updating of Double Indemnity. Buchanan's pacing is dead-on, as she stays one step ahead of even the most discerning reader right up to the explosive conclusion. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
When the body of a beautiful woman is found floating offshore, seaweed in her hair, veteran Miami News police-beat reporter Britt Montero gets the call in an engrossing who-was-it that soon becomes an equally intriguing whodunit. Britt senses a good story in the making, and when the body remains unclaimed and foul play is established, she is sure of it. A fingerprint check identifies the well-cared-for mermaid as Kaithlin Jordan of the prominent department store family. One problem: she's been dead for 10 years, and her husband is scheduled to be executed for her murder. Kaithlin flourished at the family's flagship store and was rumored to be the brains of the outfit. Britt's mother, a longtime employee, trained her, but avoids queries about the young woman. Once again Britt enlists staff photographer Lottie Dane and cigar-chomping police detective Emery Rychek, along with News librarian Onnie and the rest of her support network, to uncover the woman's past. Drawing on her own rich experience as a Miami reporter, Buchanan (Pulse) charts Britt's determined pursuit of the truth. The reader is along every step of the way, even if things go a bit over the top as the outwardly tough Britt continually struggles to balance the problems of daily life and possible romance with the horrors she encounters in the all-consuming job she loves. Agent, Michael Congdon.
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