Book Two of the Shirley Combs and Dr. Mary Watson series, THE ILLUSTRIOUS CLIENT, shows us the private investigator and her sidekick sharing an office, and introduces their receptionist, Lix. They are hired to influence a young international pop star, Oceane Charles, to pry her away from her older, richer, player of a girlfriend. The cast is made up of people with various ethnicities and backgrounds, and of course the job soon includes solving a murder mystery. Along the way, Mary discovers her latent lesbianism. Set in Portland, Oregon on a superyacht, in a hospital VIP room, at Rose Festival, and other fun places.
Oceane was moaning with desire and ready for more when Zaro suddenly stopped what she was doing and sat up. “What is it?” Oceane asked. “Shh.” There was a sound outside the bedroom window. They both heard it this time. Zaro jumped up, threw back the drapes, opened the window and climbed out. “Come back here, you!” She was actually chasing someone. “Zaro, wait! Let me call the police. See, I’m calling them now.” Oceane was dialing 911 on her cell phone when she heard Zaro scream. She climbed out the window, pulling at her robe with one hand, still holding the phone in the other. Khalil came running from somewhere, yelling “Stop her! Stop her!” Khalil and Oceane reached Zaro at nearly the same minute. Zaro was screaming and writhing in pain. She couldn’t tell them what had happened, but it was clear she’d been attacked. Khalil took the phone from Oceane and spoke with the emergency dispatcher asking for both police and an ambulance. “It looks like acid.”
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There are times that I omit checking the content too closely when agreeing to do reviews. This means that I occasionally read something out of my comfort zone, and this certainly was. I will restrain myself from complaining, however, because when I agree to review a book, I can “ignore” the content I don’t prefer. But I will tell you from the outset that this does deal with lesbianism, but it does not go into great detail. I would not call it overly graphic, but I just want to ensure that my readers know this before they pick it up. The profanity is not a major issue, but there are a couple of “hardcore” words. If any of this is an issue, I would recommend you abstain from reading the book.
Now that the potentially objectionable content is out of the way, permit me to tell you the positives. A female version of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is quite an intriguing idea. I believe I would have more entertained had the story happened during Sherlock Holmes’s time, but that is just a personal preference. I didn’t read the first book, and I possibly would have enjoyed the book more if I had read book one, but I had no trouble following the storyline nor the characters.
One thing I truly appreciate is the diversity of the book. While I am uncomfortable with the aspects already mentioned, I still can say that multiculturalism is a definite strength of this book. The mystery was a bit weak at times, but I can say that the details included certainly qualify it to be a “cozy mystery.” The other details I suggested may boot it out of that genre, but there are no gory details. It may not be my all-time favorite genre, but the characters are interesting if nothing else. If you are looking for a quick read (and the cautions at the beginning of the review don’t bother you), this book would be a good fit for you. It is one you can sit down and read in one sitting. And the author certainly shows promise since she made me actually care about the fate of the characters in the story.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sandra de Helen’s books as well as short stories are available at bookstores, libraries, and online. Her poetry and plays are published in several journals. Samples of her works are on her website SandradeHelen.com. Even though she says she isn’t a “joiner,” de Helen is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Oregon Writers Colony, the Golden Crown Literary Society, and International Centre for Women Playwrights. Like her at FaceBook.com/drmarywatson, follow her on Twitter @dehelen, and read her blog at RedCrested.com. She lives with her cat Stanton in Portland, Oregon where they both type.
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