Title: Dead Giveaway (A Yellow Rose Mystery)
Author: Leann Sweeney
Publisher: Signet Books (2005)
Abby Rose is a Houston private investigator who specialises in cases involving adoption and in her third outing is tackling one where a baby was abandoned in odd circumstances 19 years earlier. That baby is now a college basketball star and wants to know who his birth parents are but it’s clear from the outset that someone doesn’t want that information made public.
This is a pretty well written book aside from the over use of cutes similes (I don’t know what the ideal number is but three on one page is too many) and, late in the action, a ridiculous piece of femjep* that had me gnashing my teeth. It’s a good, well-constructed story that’s far more credible than a lot of cosy mysteries and I was quite engaged by the idea of an adoption investigator. There’s a nice build up of clues and suspense and the resolution is not entirely predictable and is very satisfying.
What was missing for me was great characters. Aside from Abby there’s her boyfriend Jeff who’s a police sergeant and her twin sister Kate, a psychologist who assists Abby by treating some of her clients professionally if there are issues to be worked through regarding their adoption case. I imagine these two feature in all the books (I’ve not read any others in this series) and thus make up the ‘regular cast’ of this cosy series. All three of them are very nice, normal people who I’m sure would make great neighbours. However, they, along with the characters who relate only to this case, are all a bit too dull and ordinary to really hold my attention. I know it’s possible to go too far with quirky and eccentric but, for me anyway, there does need to be a spark of something windswept and interesting about some of the people for me to want to return to a series and I didn’t find that here.
*short for female in jeopardy, usually in a ludicrous situation that she gets herself into by going somewhere or doing something dangerous (e.g. visit the house of a murderer in the dead of night) without telling anyone where she is and having no hope of defending herself should something terrible happen. Readers/watchers are all thinking “don’t do it you dolt” while being able to predict the outcome with 100% accuracy.
My rating 2.5/5 (it lost half a point due to the femjep)