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Smoke and Mirrors

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,614 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The fast-paced world of politics was both exhilarating and daunting to young Erin Hartsock. But Erin's enthusiasm turns to dread when a series of strange fires and a seemingly accidental death show her the shocking truth behind the political game. her legion of fans!"--Publishers Weekly.
Paperback, 360 pages
Published January 1st 1990 by Berkley (first published 1989)
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Sheri South
I'd just finished the spooktastic AMMIE, COME HOME and was all ready for a Barbara Michaels glom when I found this one cheap at a used-book sale. What a disappointment! The mystery didn't really get interesting until the last 100 pages or so--and what I was given in the meantime amounted to little more than a political screed. This would have been annoying even if I'd shared the authors political convictions, but it's rather offensive when everyone who shares your own views is either (a) an idio ...more
Alison C
Smoke and Mirrors, by Barbara Michaels, is a multiple-time re-read for me; I first encountered Ms. Michaels (aka Elizabeth Peters) in the early 1980s and have read just about everything she's written - and re-read a fair number of them too. This one is particularly apt during an election season, as the setting is that of a US Senate campaign in about 1988. Young Erin Hartsock goes to work for charismatic Congresswoman Rosemary Marshall, who has given up her cozy seat in the House to run for Sena ...more
Aug 23, 2008 Miriam rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: read a different Barbara Michaels book instead
Shelves: mystery
A young woman goes to work for another woman's political campaign, and discovers she is being threatened. The mystery here is weak, and the politics heavy-handed.
The mystery was good if you can get past the stupid Democrat propoganda.
Joan Young
Smoke and Mirrors is an interesting mystery set in the chaos of a house full of volunteers supporting a political candidate for the US Senate (a woman who has fulfilled her dead husband's tenure, and is now seeking election for herself). The book was written in 1989, so lacks a lot of the modern communication options - such as everyone having cell phones. Not that it matters, except that a reader might wonder why these things are not being used, as the rest of the text does not betray the time p ...more
I can't believe I'm saying this about a Barbara Michaels book, because usually I love all her stories, but this was the first one I was sort of "meh" about. It wasn't terrible, it just wasn't what I've come to expect from her, which is a book I don't want to put down because I'm dying to know how it ends. This one wasn't that kind of story.

Erin Hartsock is an idealistic, but naive and inexperienced new member of the staff of the campaign for up-and-coming politician Rosemary Marshall. Although E
Moved a little slow...just didn't hold my interest.
Read ably by Pat Starr. Good gentle mystery for election season. DC/NOVA setting (one of the characters spends a lot of time in Charlottesville, but it's only ever mentioned in passing). And by gentle, I mean, I think I recall a character apologizing for harsh language after saying "Shoot". Or something similar. Its discussions of "feminism" sound quaint as well. But nice for a driving-around town story.
Sherri Dub
I have to say, the content of the plot wasn't engaging enough in this novel to keep my interest. But, in all fairness, I don't like to read about political figures or careers.
Otherwise, it was excuted in the flawless Ms. Michaels style~
Even having read it before, I still found it hard to put this book down. My only complaint is that I don't really like Nick & feel like he has to grow up a bit more before he's worthy, but Erin & Rosemary make me smile.
Definitely a disappointment. I love Elizabeth Peters' (Barbara Michaels) writing in the Amelia Peabody and Vicki Bliss series much better than her writing in this book. I had to force myself to finish the book.
The pacing in this book felt off, but Michaels is a smooth, confident writer and she will carry you along effortlessly. Not one of her better books.
Barbara Michaels writes interesting and enjoyable mysteries that are easy to ready during a busy time, and keep the reader absorbed.
She is my favorite guilty pleasure! As usual she delivered a great read, interesting characters and a fun plot!
Nice change of subject matter but I found the suspense to be just average. Not up to Michael's usual standard.
I've read better books. Not much happened until almost the end.
Sarah Sammis
It's a political thriller / mystery with some arson thrown in.
I don't usually read this type of book, but it was fun.
A great read for an election year
An okay ghost story.
A great light-hearted read
Sep 15, 2008 Cws added it
Shelves: adult-fiction
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Barbara Michaels is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also writes as Elizabeth Peters, as well as under her own name.

She was born in Canton, Illinois and has written over fifty books including some in Egyptology. Dr. Mertz also holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Egyptology.
More about Barbara Michaels...

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