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Four  moon gifSt. Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover),
ISBN: 0-312-20909-6
Kayla Anson's millions meant a lot to many people. Kayla's mother, Margaret Bell Anson, hated her daughter but coveted the fortune she couldn't touch. Peter Greer, Kayla's boyfriend, reinvented himself from poor boy to purveyor of fashion to the rich and snobby, because he knew that Kayla wouldn't marry the boy he was. Sally Martindale, part time bursar at the Country Club, "belongs," but doesn't have enough money to pay bills or heat her house -- while Kayla keeps an temptingly high balance in her club account. But whether the mega-bucks meant everything to Kayla herself is doubtful.  

Book: Jane Haddam, Skeleton KeyJane Haddam's Skeleton Key opens with an action sequence that plays in your mind like television or the big screen's stunts and special effects. If a director added the glow of a full moon to the dark night, the long lonely road without road signs and the huge dark vehicle ramming Kayla's BMW, the reader would be as frightened as Kayla was before she died from a shoelace slowly tightening around her neck.  

Haddam's writing is luxurious. She takes her time setting this eerie stage. The reader's focus travels from one character to the next, garnering their life story as they tell what they know about the last moments of Kayla's life.  

Bennis Hannaford, the love of Haddam mainstay Gregor Demarkian, appears on the scene in the beginning of the book. But it is the late-arriving Gregor who dominates the story. He provides the unifying force, navigating the sea of jurisdictions in which lie the pieces of the truth about Kayla's death. 

Book: Jane Haddam, Deadly BelovedWhile not quite a cozy, Haddam weaves the wonderfully endearing characters of the Cavanaugh Street series throughout this tightly plotted mystery. Bennis and Gregor's slow, multi-book romance sparks, highlights and heightens the suspense in this tale like sparklers on a dark night.  

Haddam's use of misdirection while laying all the evidence in front of the reader lifts this book above the ordinary. At 1 a.m., I reluctantly set the book aside, then instead of sleeping, I lay there reviewing each character's actions and motives. If you're wondering, I was wrong.  

Suzanne Frisbee

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Readers Respond:

I'd say thank you to Suzanne Frisbee for that lovely review.

Jane Haddam