At 35, children’s book author Roxi Carlucci finds herself starting over again after her publisher drops her book series. With no income, she has to pack up her life on the California Coast, along with her pet rat Merlin, and move in with her cousin, P.I. Stephen Carlucci, who lives in Fresno, CA. The one redeeming factor is that Stephen lives in the Tower District—the cultural oasis of Fresno.
Stephen talks Roxi into helping out with a community theatre production, which is also a fundraiser for a local animal rescue. Little did she know that someone would be murdered during a rehearsal, and that she and Stephen would be hired to find the killer. The killer has to be one of Roxi’s new acquaintances since the theatre was locked at the time of the murder, but no one seems to have a motive. How can they solve a murder without a motive? Could the local gossip website hold any clues? Can they stop the killer before they strike again?
Lorie Lewis Ham lives in Reedley, California and has been writing ever since she was a child—her first stories were about her stuffed animals. Her first song and poem were published when she was 13, and she has gone on to publish many articles, short stories, and poems throughout the years, as well as write for a local newspaper. Four out of 5 of her previously published mystery novels feature gospel singer Alexandra Walters and are set in the San Joaquin Valley. Those books were inspired by the many years she spent traveling and singing gospel music with her family. One Of Us is the first in a brand new mystery series set in the Tower District of Fresno, California featuring podcaster and part time detective Roxi Carlucci. Lorie has also been the publisher of the online magazine Kings River Life for the past 11 years (kingsriverlife.com), and of its sister website KRL News & Reviews (krlnews.com). She also launched a mystery podcast called Mysteryrat’s Maze (mysteryratsmaze.podbean.com) 3 years ago which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors, including the first chapter of this book. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and all of the other usual places. You can learn more about Lorie on her website mysteryrat.com and find her on Twitter @mysteryrat and Facebook. Another way to keep up with Lorie’s writing is to subscribe to her newsletter—you can find info on doing that on her website.
Lorie has been married to Larry for 30 years and they have 2 grown children—Jayce and Joseph Ham. She currently has 5 cats (Merlin, Sam, Dean, Sidney, and Willow), 4 dogs (Lestat, Huey, Xander, and Phoebe), and a pet dwarf rabbit (Sherlock). For many years, she worked in pet rat rescue, and has had many pet rats of her own over the years.
Roxi Carlucci is starting over by moving in with her cousin, Stephen in Fresno, California. Roxi is the daughter of a mafia don. She has a pet dumbo rat named Merlin and has just lost the publisher for the children’s book she has been writing. Stephen owns and runs a private investigation business. He is also very involved in the community. Stephen gets Roxi involved in a theater group he supports. When the quiet, mousy stage manager is found dead, Roxi and Stephen start their investigation. Who would have killed the almost invisible woman? This was an uniquely plotted mystery with a artfully created cast of diversely written characters. Each character has a well defined, well backstory that blends into the mystery. I was engrossed in this story from page one until the final word. The story also shared the power of website gossip on peoples lives. I am looking forward to more stories in the Tower District Mysteries series. As well as seeing what becomes of Roxi, Merlin, Stephen and his new cat, Dan. A Highly Recommended Read!! I volunteered to read One of Us. Thanks to the Cozy Mystery Review Crew for the opportunity. My opinion is voluntary and my own.
“One of Us” Earns 5/5 Excaliburs…Engaging Mystery & Rich Characters!
When it rains, it pours: roommate moves, mortgage too expensive, animal rescue defunct, podcast not lucrative, and publisher says goodbye. This forces Roxi Carlucci to take cover and pack up her belongings along with her Excalibur replica sword, her well-worn copy of “The Once and Future King,” and her blue dumbo rat named Merlin and move to Fresno, California. She at least has an open invitation from her cousin and private investigator Stephen Carlucci along with a job if she wants, but to her this is ten steps backwards with an uncertain future and heat that would literally fry an egg in the shell. “Life sucked.” However, things are looking up since Stephen’s house is within a nice walk to the art center of Fresno, christened the Tower District, and she meets some friendly business owners and residents of the area; her cousin has even suggested she accompany him to the local theater and seriously consider getting involved with their new production. She isn’t new to the theater, but “involved” takes on criminal overtones when she discovers the dead body of one of the crew in a locked-room style mystery, and due to the preliminary evidence pointing to the handsome playwright, she joins her cousin in the official investigation…business cards and all. This valley town has a big city dark side.
Thumbs Up! Lorie Lewis Ham has rejoined the world of authors with the first book in her Tower District Mystery series using the common advice given to authors to “write what you know.” This does not necessarily mean criminal behavior, but setting, characters, and sidekicks are all areas one should have some familiarity. Lorie has set her edgy cozy in the Central Valley city of Fresno, near where she herself lives, with its diverse culture, its big city vibe and small town surprises, and in the summer, its extreme temperatures. All of this she describes well giving the reader an intriguing place in which to explore small businesses, family dynamics, mental health issues, social media, and murder. Roxi Carlucci is a delight with a clever perspective and an inspiring background of reinventing or relocating herself, but maintaining her true sense. She has endearing relationships with her cousin, her quirky friend Lucas Shum, and her new theater friends, and her passion with all things King Arthur is unique and sent me off to google the lore of Camelot. However, she has some issues that make her realistic from a family with criminal connections she wishes to avoid to the death of her parents at an early age and the suicide of her brother still raw even with years since his passing. She’s quirky in her own right with a pet rat Merlin, something else Lorie has familiarity, and the fascinating details about the domesticated blue dumbo rat also sent me to explore more about the breed and, although Merlin doesn’t hold true “sidekick” status, he is definitely fun! Lorie’s first book is a well-written, first-person narrative with entertaining twist and turns and a nail biting conclusion to keep readers engaged in the drama. Complex characters. Rich environment. Well-worth reading.
Disclosure: I received an ARC from the author. My review is voluntary with honest insights and comments.
One of Us introduces readers to Roxi Carlucci. Roxi’s life has taken an unexpected turn, which is the motivation for adjusting her lifestyle. So, she moves from a Northern California coastal town to the Tower District neighborhood in Fresno to live with her cousin, Private Detective Stephen Carlucci. The move marks the beginning of a new phase in Roxi’s life. She volunteers to help at a community theatre production. When the stage manager dies in a criminal homicide, Stephen and Roxi are pulled into the case. The detective in charge of the homicide case and the Carlucci’s run parallel investigations. Both the police and the Carlucci’s find the case extremely challenging. No one seems to have a grudge against the victim. But the more digging the Carlucci’s do, the more they realize all is not as it appears. Will the Carlucci’s figure out who wanted the victim dead and why?
The exciting opening to One of Us grabs readers’ attention, and skillfully written scenes by Lorie Lewis Ham keep readers turning the pages until they reach the end of the book. Family ties, as well as supportive and budding friendships, play pivotal roles in the storyline. Well-placed and well-written red herrings heighten the story’s suspense and add a greater challenge for public and private investigators to solve the crime. The sprinkling of expletives fits the characters who use them. A pet rat is a fun addition to the story.
One of Us is book one in A Tower District Mystery series. It is an excellent mystery that benefits from a great combination of compelling and multi-faceted characters, a winning plot, a puzzling mystery to solve, and dialogue that naturally flows back and forth between characters, just like a real-life conversation. The author does a good job of keeping readers guessing about the reason behind the victim’s demise and the person responsible for cutting their life short. The introduction of a new mystery series by Lorie Lewis Ham gets off to a great start, and I look forward to more adventures of Roxi Carlucci.
I really liked this book. One Of Us was a quick and fun read with a lot of detail on the setting that made you feel as if you were there. Most of the characters were very likeable. So much so that when I thought I knew who the killer was I kept hoping that I was wrong.
I received a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to review it.
This was a fun, quick and easy read! I thoroughly enjoyed it. The little nuances that were thrown in were great. Like Stephen always brushing his hair out of his face, or how hot it was and how Roxi couldn't stand the heat.
In this first installment we find Roxi moved from Ayr to the Tower District in Fresno. She's living with her cousin Stephen who has his own PI business. Her first night there they go to the rehearsal of the play, where we meet most of the characters in the book. I don't want to give too much away, you just need to read this one. It's REALLY good!!
I loved all the movie and play references, that was fun to read. I think the book wrapped up nicely in the end. We found out who the killer was, what Roxi started doing (Podcast) and of course working for Stephen. They work so good together and I can't wait to see what happens next. I would've liked to know if they kept Dan and what happened to Bogie, other than that it was perfect.
One of Us is a lively theater-based PI novel set in Fresno, CA, featuring Roxi Carlucci at a turning point in her life. Roxi and her cousin get tapped to find the stage manager’s killer. This first-in-series weaves fine actors, decadent coffee, pet fun, and cagey suspects in a fast-paced, light-hearted read.
ONE OF US by Lorie Lewis Ham The First Tower District Mystery
At 35, Roxi Carlucci is forced to start over. Her publisher dropped her and her roommate got married leaving her unable to afford the mortgage on her coastal home. She's moved to Fresno to live with her cousin, Steven, while she considers her options. He's made her an offer to join the family business, though not the Family business; rejecting the Mafia life, Stephen runs a private investigations agency. While not immediately taking him up on his job offer, she does agree to get involved in the theatre he supports. When the mousy stage manager is murdered, however, Roxie's curiosity is piqued and she joins Stephen's investigation.
Animal rescue, a pet rat, and theatre! That's a combination I can't resist. Three things dear to my heart combine in a smart and fun mystery. I was so thrilled to finally discover a mystery whose protagonist had a pet rat. Rats are wonderful companions, although generally best kept with other rattie buddies not alone, and I hope we see even more of Merlin in future books. I love that often maligned animals such as rats, black cats, and pit bulls are showed in a positive light, hopefully changing perceptions of some readers. The same goes for mental illness which is also touched on and is another topic dear to my heart. I also love that so many of the characters' interests are aligned with mine (can we say Camelot and Star Trek, and although I dislike Rent, like Stephen, love opera!).
I love that fact that while Roxi is technically an amateur sleuth, she has a savvy background, being the daughter of a Mafia Don, and is working in conjunction with a legitimate PI business. She's not your typical shop owner who inserts herself in a murder investigation. There's also a positive working relationship with the local police, which is nice to see. The mystery itself is complex. A mousy stage manager is a bit of an oxymoron (I know, I was one.) but vital since no one can imagine a motive. Why kill an invisible person? There are also plenty of surprises.
An utter delight, ONE OF US captures a unique neighborhood and introduces us to interesting well developed characters while providing an eminently intelligent and enjoyable mystery.
More years ago than I care to think about, I first “met” Lorie Lewis Ham and her Alexandra Walters mystery series featuring a gospel singer. The last volume came out in 2010 and I’ve frequently thought about those books, wishing there were more, but that wasn’t to be.
Then, one day earlier this year, Lorie let me know that she was starting a new series and I could not have been happier with the news. One of Us is very different and Roxi Carlucci is not Alexandra Walters but Lorie‘s touch is still there, very evident in her character building and her creation of a cracking good mystery.
Roxi experiences what too many authors do in having her publisher drop her and it only adds insult to injury when other circumstances pile on and force her to give up her home. Luckily, Roxi’s cousin, private investigator Stephen Carlucci, offers her a new place to live and so Roxi’s reinvented life begins. She could not have known that getting involved with a theater production would lead to her setting out on a new career as a private detective alongside her cousin but that sort of thing tends to happen when (1) you find a murder victim and (2) you have a naturally sleuth-y mind.
I’m so glad that Ms. Ham is publishing again and to find that she still has a fine hand with crime fiction, keeping the tension high and offering all sorts of red herrings and nuggets of potential leads. I also enjoyed meeting Roxi and Stephen again since they were both characters in the prior series. One of Us is a terrific start to this new venture and I can’t wait to see what will happen next in Roxi’s life…and to see more of a charming little pet rat named Merlin😄.
ONE OF US is the first book in the brand-new Tower District Mysteries by Lorie Lewis Ham. A strong start in the series, this book evokes an edgy cozy mystery feel with the protagonist, children’s book author Roxi Carlucci turned private investigator, working with her cousin, Stephen. Ms. Ham has developed a strong set of core characters, from Roxi and her cousin (a bonus: they’re both children of mobsters!), to Roxi’s great friend, Lucas, and her pet named Merlin, who just happens to be a blue dumbo rat. I loved their interaction with each other and the flow of their relationships. The author also tackles a number of social issues with sensitivity, without detracting from the mystery. Set in the big city of Fresno, California, the action is based in the artsy Tower District. This brings a small community vibe to the story and allows the investigation in the closed-room style murder at the community theater, to be kept local.
The author does an admirable job of setting the stage (pun intended) for the mystery and dishing out the clues. To complicate matters, the victim was a very shy, very private, person and almost no one knows anything about her. Was it a robbery gone bad? Or had the unassuming young woman made an enemy? Ms. Ham answers those questions, and more, while providing an engaging read.
I like cozies. I like the quirky people in them. I like the sometimes unbelievable story lines. I'm not averse to swearing, even in a cozy. Unfortunately, this book was way too wordy and it had way too many over the top descriptions of homes, restaurants, menus, what have you.
The story has good bones. A children's book author has her series shut down by the publisher. She lives on the California coast in a house that is now not affordable for her, so she rents it and moves to Fresno, to live with her cousin and work at his detective agency. She brings her pet rat, Merlin with her. She decides to volunteer with a community theater group, where one of the players takes an eternally final curtain call.
The mystery was tight and I kept moving from one suspect to another, trying to figure out who done it! I just wish the author would have paid more attention to the mystery than to where they were dining or what the house/apartment/theater looked like. I get that this is the first book in the series and needed a bit more of a descriptive flavor since the scene needed to be set, but this went way beyond scene setting. The extraneous details took me out of the story more than once.
Three stars since the author did publish and that in and of itself is a great achievement. I hope the next in this series will be a bit meatier, with fewer pages of fluff.
With her children's book series dropped by her publisher, her roommate getting married and moving out, Roxi Carlucci, daughter of a mafia don, is without a job and now can't afford to live in her home. What is she to do? This is a wonderful first book in the Tower District Mystery series has you turning pages until the end. Her cousin, Stephen invites her and her pet rat to move in with him until she can find what she wants to do. Stephen has shunned the "family" business and is a legit private investigator in Fresno. With no where else to go, she takes him up on the offer to move into his place in the artsy community of the Tower District. He also asks her to get involved in the local theater that he supports. When the unassuming director is found dead, Stephen and Roxi investigate. Why would anyone want to kill this private, quiet person? With no known or possible motive, Roxi and Stephen have their work cut out for them. Could it be the playwright? Stage hands? Who? This first book is a must read. We are given lots of twists and turns in a locked room type mystery as well as real characters with baggage of their own. The descriptions the author provides keeps the smooth flow and has you visualizing what she describes. I am looking forward to more of this series from the author. I received and ARC of this book but the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
This is a great way to start a new series. Roxie has just lost her roommate who helped cover the mortgage on her house in Ayr and her book series about a rat has just be cancelled so she has no choice except to accept the generosity of her cousin Stephen and move in with him in the Tower District of Fresno, far from her beloved coast. Stephen and Roxie grew up together and spent as much time as possible together so living together is not a problem. It doesn’t hurt that Stephen has a large home with plenty of room for her and her rat to be more than comfortable. Since Roxie has had to make the move and no longer has her book series or podcast that she was doing Stephen suggest she join him at a charity play rehearsal which he is financing. She reluctantly agrees. Roxie meets many of the actors and finds herself volunteering to help the stage manager Teresa. After a future rehearsal Teresa is found dead. The director of the play, Alec, hires Stephen, who owns a Private Investigation Agency, to find out who killed his best friend Teresa. Previously Roxie has worked with Stephen in the agency and she joins him in solving the murder. Together they work the case and discover the murder. In addition to working the murder they are also trying to find out who is the webmaster of Tower Gossip Webpage that is full of gossip that many people did not want shared with anyone who wants to read it. This first boon in the new series has theater, children of the mafia, new person in town and a couple of mysteries. It will be good to see what the next one in the series has to offer.
What a great must-solve mystery and wonderful introduction to the Tower District Mysteries by new-to-me author Lorie Lewis Ham that had me completely engrossed as soon as I started reading and I couldn't put the book down until I read the last word. I love Roxi Carlucci and enjoy her dynamic with the wonderful cast of characters from the Tower District, the cultural oasis of Fresno, CA. If you enjoy twisty mysteries that you can't put down, don't miss "One of Us". I can't wait to see what Roxi, her cousin Stephen and the rest of the Tower District get involved in next. I received an advance reader copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving my review.
Lorie Lewis Ham hits one out of the park with her first book in the new Tower District Mysteries series. Roxi Carlucci is a strong and bright character with just enough whimsey to soften the edges, and her co-horts are equally as interesting. This installment had everything that interests me, such as theatre, literature, pets, and of course, mystery. The dialogue is stunning, as I felt like I was a fly on the wall throughout the story. Fun to read and with easy flow, I highly recommend this cozy.
This is a super awesome but pretty quick read. I loved the detail in describing the setting and feeling like you're really getting to know the characters. I love the back stories that are revealed and how everything ties together. Definitely recommend and look forward to more in this series.
I received a free copy from Voracious Readers and I definitely recommend this book. It was a quick, fun read with a great cast of characters. The writer created a community that feels real and engaging. I look forward to visiting again.
An intriguing puzzle mystery, One of Us by Lorie Ham is a page-turner. Loved all the characters, and didn't guess who the murderer was. Of course, I had suspicions, but I suspected some others, as well.
A new amateur sleuth, a new series, from Lorie Lewis Ham, make for a great beginning for the cozy mystery reader. Ham is a west coast author who caught the writing bug at an age when her stuffed animals were the first audience. She has published numerous short stories, articles, as well as written for newspapers.
The new series is set in Fresno California. When the book opens, our sleuth, Roxi Carlucci, has nothing. Her writing career as a successful children's book author is over. No job, no income means no home. She relocates to Fresno to share a house with her cousin Stephen, a detective living in Fresno's Tower District. Both cousins share a love of pop culture, as well as a shared connection to the mafia. Roxi's dad was a member of that notorious organization. Stephen, a P.I. helps Roxi find a job as a stage manager for a local theater company. More than drama, the cast and crew also have a dead body. One of us is dead, and as all building exits are sealed, one of us might be a killer. Roxi joins Stephen to solve the crime.
I like Roxi. She is quirky, owns a pet rat, is observant, and willing to take direction as well as willing to go on in life in spite of a major set back. The plot moves along smoothly, with enough suspects to keep the reader guessing. Ham has a simple writing style making this series ideal for the high low reader collections. Ham's love of animals comes through. The pets are fully developed secondary characters. I hope Merlin, the rat, will appear in future books.
Highly recommended for YA readers through adults, especially cozy mystery lovers.
I received a free copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity to read this first book in a promising new cozy series. As an animal lover, I loved the fact that most of the characters owned pets, and the play they were rehearsing was to be a fundraiser for an animal rescue. I also liked learning more about the setting. Although I lived in Southern California for 10 years, I'd only driven through Fresno, and I'd never heard of its Tower District, an artsy, hip community. The story is told in first person from the point of view of the likable protagonist, Roxi Carlucci. She's new in town, unemployed, and at a crossroads in her life. Her cousin, P.I. Stephen Carlucci, gives her a place to stay and gets her involved in a local stage production in the Tower District. And then there's a murder during rehearsal in a locked theater. Stephen enlists Roxi's help in the investigation; their main dilemma is that none of the suspects who had an opportunity also had a motive. Until they discover an online gossip site. I was a little surprised at how quickly Stephen and Roxi were hired and allowed to investigate, even before the local police could examine the crime scene. In most cozies I've read, there are more territorial conflicts with law enforcement. But in this story, they all shared information amicably. There was a little repetition as they rehashed the clues, but the author did a good job of keeping the reader guessing. I enjoyed the read and am happy to recommend it!
Roxi Carlucci and her pet rat, Merlin, move to Fresno, California to live with her cousin, Stephen. Stephen convinces her to help out at the local community theatre. When the stage manager is murdered, Roxi and her PI cousin step in to solve the case. This is One of Us (A Tower District Mystery #1) by Lorie Lewis Ham
The characters were a nice mix of creative types. The protagonist, Roxi, was an interesting lead. Her cousin, Stephen, was a PI and he hires Roxi to work in his business. They are mafia kids which put an unusual spin into their work and history. The supporting characters were quirky, creative, and each with an agenda of their own.
The plot was entertaining, and the author wrote realistically about solving the crime. I loved how she built up the mystery in segments of clues and let the reader reach a conclusion as to who the murderer was. I didn’t figure out the killer, which is always a bonus in my book.
The author writes with a descriptive flair that is just the right amount to give the reader a rolling movie in their head without going over board to the point of boring. I loved the Tower area, and would want to live there myself. I enjoyed the author’s references to old movies and good restaurants. I can’t wait for the series to continue.
My review is voluntary and all comments and opinions expressed are my own.
Roxi Carlucci, a children's book writer, loses her publishing contract and moves from her quaint California coastal town to stay with her cousin in Fresno. Her charming – and handsome – cousin Stephen is a private investigator who offers her and her pet rat Merlin not only a place to stay, but a new life in Fresno's arts district, The Tower. But The Tower harbors more than art galleries, bookshops, and hip cafes as murder strikes the company of a theater production and Roxi is drawn into a world of gossip, blackmail, and lies. Sherlock Holmes, Excalibur, old movies, and quirky actors keep things interesting in this latest fun read by Lorie Lewis Ham. Let's hope we see more of Roxi in books to come. And yes, more of Fresno!
A children's book author falls on hard times, and finds herself in Fresno. She doesn't much like Fresno, as she thinks it's boring and way too hot. She tries to get back on her feet by becoming stage manager for the local theatre group.
Soon enough, there is a murder, and along with her PI cousin, she investigates the murder. Fresno isn't all that small a town, but it's got plenty of small town secrets.
Pretty good, although the sleuth has both a pet cat, and a pet blue rat. Not sure how they'll get along. Neither of them featured in the story. I was glad neither pet had magic powers or telepathy.
My reading style (one chapter a day) found me constantly reviewing just who had which characteristics (and appending suspicions), but the author managed to fool me again and again, with suspicious-seeming characters and anticipated discoveries shifting constantly.
I was never able to anticipate just who the killer might have been... which is a good sign, though I can't say that I remembered who the killer actually was when he/she was eventually revealed (which may be more indicative of my memory than the author's character development).
There was one terrific reveal when we discovered that one character turned out to have an entirely unexpected alter ego. Great surprise!
Cozy mystery fans will really enjoy this book. Lorie Lewis Ham has started a series that will appeal to readers on so many levels. Children’s book author Roxie moves to Fresno to live for awhile with her cousin while she looks for work. When she gets drawn into helping with a community theater production, little does she know that the script includes murder and the cast of characters provides plenty of suspects she can draw on. A intriguing puzzle, interesting characters, and plenty of friendly pets.
I liked the main character, Roxi, and her pet rat. They move to Fresno to begin a new life, and she starts working with her cousin, a handsome private investigator in the Tower District, on a murder case. There are too many suspects, but no motives, until the end. There’s a lot of talk about the case with the suspects, a lot of restaurant visits, a lot of description about the area, and I got the idea that the heat in Fresno was stifling, but there wasn’t much action or suspense. which is what makes it a real cozy mystery. References to old movie stars and Camelot added to the coziness.
What a great start to a new series! Roxi Carlucci relocates to the Tower District in Fresno, California after she loses her job and her book contract. Theatre, great restaurants, pet rescues, fundraisers, writing groups -- all in a new town with new friends and a new job at her cousin's PI firm. Everything seems fantastic in this close-knit community until the quiet stage manager is murdered, and no one knows why. Roxi and her cousin poke and prod until they uncover secrets that someone doesn't want revealed.
One of Us is a fun and engaging cozy mystery! I liked the character interactions, particularly between Roxie and her cousin. I love when characters have pets, and Roxie had a different pet than what I usually see in books - a rat named Merlin. I hope to see Merlin again in future installments. Fresno was an interesting and different setting, and I enjoyed the set-up of the Tower District which gives the story a small town feel. Recommended for fans of cozy mysteries.
Fantastic well written book that combines strong characters, both female and male, pets, food, mystery and of course murder. This is a fun and entertaining read. Very grateful to Lorie Lewis Ham for her Complimentary Copy of “One of Us” via Voracious Readers a only. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
3.5 stars The start is a little obvious that the writer is giving the character her interests, but once it gets going, it’s an interesting mystery and I didn’t guess the killer until shortly before the end, though there was a key giveaway if you paid attention. I liked the main characters though could do less with the slight white-washing of the mob, but overall it’s a series I’d follow.
Well plotted, didn't really guess whodunit until the end, great characters. Sorry - I took a star off for a few mis-spellings and excess-to-requirements quotation marks. Also a few times I felt that there was some contradiction. All round enjoyable though. Received as a complimentary copy from the author via Voracious Readers Only in return for an honest review.