A Dead Daughter
Jessica Huntington #3
By Anna Celeste Burke
Author’s Website: http://www.desertcitiesmystery.com/
Murder and mayhem takes Jessica Huntington to new heights—literally and figuratively—when Libby Van Der Woert wants to meet at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The disturbed daughter of Jessica’s wealthy clients, Libby says she has information about her friend, Shannon Donnelly. Another mixed-up daughter of the rich and famous, Shannon Donnelly has not been heard from in over a week and her pricey car was abandoned in a Cathedral City parking lot.
Trouble begins the moment Jessica greets Libby in the Mt. San Jacinto Wilderness. Wild, manic, and sure she’s being followed, Libby’s got a gun. All hell breaks loose when Libby’s Beverly Hills shrink shows up with a gun of his own.
What’s up with the missing and misguided daughters of wealth and privilege in Dr. Carr’s care? Jessica and her Cat Pack friends go toe-to-toe with more well-heeled heels in A DEAD DAUGHTER. Getting to the bottom of things Jessica-Huntington-style, sets off a whirlwind tour of fashionable enclaves, upscale rehab clinics, shops, restaurants and other haute hangouts. Can she and her friends outwit and outlive ‘la crème dela crud’ wreaking havoc in paradise?
A Dead Daughter is the third book of the Jessica Huntington series by Anna Celeste Burke. Yet again, Anna Celeste Burke has written an engaging, jam packed cozy mystery. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire read…just the way I like it!
The continuing evolution of the relationship between Jessica and Frank was exciting. I could really feel the intensity begin to grow…it will be interesting to see where this relationship ends up. I did not sense the progression as much with Jessica’s relationship with Paul. Frank is smitten, but as any single parent knows, he must tread carefully as it is not only his life he will affect with any new relationship:
“At least for a few more years I have kids at home, so it’s not just me I have to think about before getting involved with a woman. Especially as one as stubborn, uppity, and exasperating as our friend here, no matter how lovely and beguiling she can be.” …Jessica felt herself go all mushy inside. They did have a lot of things to sort out, but, damn, the man knew how to make it seem worthwhile.
The members of the cat pack: Tommy, Jerry, Brien, Bernadette – continue to evolve and we see sides of their personalities which really show us their depth, compassion and all around love for Jessica. Additionally, the chuckles that came about because of some of the dialogue out of Brien’s mouth is just priceless; he just cracks me up!!!
One characteristic of a book I value highly is its incorporation of humour (if appropriate of course). Well….A Dead Daughter does indeed have humour (FYI….humor and humour are different spellings of the same word. Humor is preferred in American English, and humour is preferred in all the other main varieties of English. Given that I am Canadian…I shall be sticking with humour).
Now for an example of humour:
“…I don’t get it, you guys. Miss Marple investigated dozens of heinous crimes, and about the worst thing that ever happened was that she dropped a few stitches in her knitting. Hercule Poirot, the punctilious little detective, almost never had more to complain about than sore feet or getting his spats dirty. Me, I’ve been punched in the face, thrown to the ground in a parking lot, accosted by gangbangers on the side of the road, kidnapped, drugged and shot at! Now, to top it all off, I get shoved off a mountain. What am I doing wrong?”
And then there is the delicious mix of humour and sexual innuendo:
“Ooh, here we go again,” Tommy said, shifting his weight on the foot of her bed…..”You realize a lot of this is just sexual tension, right?” Frank laughed, but Jessica and Jerry both shot Tommy a dirty look. Tommy didn’t care as he took full advantage of the special place he held in Jessica’s heart. He took delight in taunting her, like a mischievous younger brother, especially about Frank.
“What? I can’t help it if you heterosexual types require so much foreplay before you…”
“Tommy, knock it off,” Jerry interrupted, shaking his head. That made Frank laugh louder. His laughter made Jessica angrier.
“Lack of foreplay has nothing to do with it,” Jessica blurted. “Wait, that’s not what I meant”
Now on to the mystery; well-conceived, intricate and with enough twists and turns that my interest was held until the final word was read. Jessica does not disappoint as a self-acclaimed amateur sleuth (albeit an injured sleuth) and carries own with her brand of “sleuthing” with the help of the “Cat Pack” friends as she recovers from being thrown off the mountain. The mystery included a laundry list of characters in such a manner that at times I needed to re-read a section to make sure I was getting everyone’s relationship straight.
I also really LOVED the character development and sub-plot of Alexis. What mothers keep from their kids!!! Glad Jessica now knows what her mother is going through and that the entire family unit (dysfunctional as it may be) can contribute. This also helps explain some of Jessica’s feelings towards her mother and will aid in her acceptance of Alexis for who she is and not Jessica’s ideas of what a mother should be.
As I have said before…..very well done Ms. Burke!! I will patiently await the next book in this delightful and engaging series.
*OBS would like to thank the author for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*