I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection: Death By Didgeridoo, The Case of the Killer Divorce, and Peril in the Park by Barbara Venkataraman

In this collection of three mystery novels that goes for a really reasonable price do not mistake the low price for low quality.  These are great mysteries featuring the mouthy yet plucky Jamie Quinn who is a family lawyer from Hollywood, Florida. And in case there are those of you (like me) who wondered if that was a real place, it is.  I just looked it up. It has around 143,000 people and is in between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, has six miles of beaches, 60 parks (which feature prominently in one of the books), 7 golf courses, and 2.5 miles of Beach Boardwalk that has been named as one of America's best boardwalks (I hope a future mystery takes place there).

Now enough of the travel brochure.  In the first mystery, Death By Didgeridoo, her cousin Adam who has Apergerger's Syndrome which is similar to Autism with one of the main differences being that the speech delay doesn't come with Asperger's.  Asperger's have difficulty with understanding the subtleties of language and facial expression. They are also socially awkward and come across as stiff or uncaring.  They are often, however, of above average intelligence. (http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/aspergers-syndrome/).  So when he is found over the body with blood on him and saying that he "was sorry" and that "It's all my fault. I did a bad thing". The police take him in for questioning and believe they have their man but have no evidence.  Jamie talks to her best friend Grace, who was once a public defender but is now a corporate lawyer for advice and she tells her about the ADA ruling that says they have to charge him or let him go without questioning him.  So Adam is free. For now.  But that doesn't last. The mean ADA Nick Dimitropolus is determined that Adam is his man, but he is on a political fast track and wants this high profile case closed. The guy that Adam supposedly killed was the former drummer, Spike, of The Screaming Zombies who had opened up a music shop and was offering up music lessons, which Adam was learning from him. He was also being sued by his former bandmates for using the band name for his store and two of his married employees, the husband who was beating the wife up, the wife was said to be having an affair with Spike.  There are plenty of people who wanted Spike dead and Adam wasn't one of them.  So Jamie hires an old client whose dreadful divorce she handled who is a PI named Duke to handle the digging of the dirt to help find out who really killed Spike and lets the public defender, Susan Doyle, handle defending him as she knows what she's doing.  Will they finally get to the real killer?

In The Case of the Killer Divorce, there really isn't much of a mystery here but it's still a different kind of mystery.  Becca Solomon is her client and she is divorcing her husband Joe and she wants to have sole custody of the kids, child support alimony, to keep the house, and to have her boyfriend, Charlie Santoro, Joe's former best friend, live with her. That seems like it's asking a lot, but Florida is a no-fault divorce state so you divvy up the assets and no one cares if you had an affair or not.  Soon, Joe is found with alcohol and two Ambien in his system and Becca has a prescription for Ambien. So Becca is arrested for his murder.  Luckily she can afford her own attorney.  But Jamie has Duke investigate anyways.  And he certainly finds some things out. The center of this book, however, is Jamie looking for her father.  Her entire life her mother had told her nothing about her father and now she has decided to go and look. With Duke and Grace's help, she finds his real name and that he was Cuban and some more interesting things about him.  Some she might not want to know.

In Peril in the Park, Jamie's new boyfriend, Kip,  is the head of the 60 parks' system I mentioned above and he's having a devil of a time getting them straightened out.  There's a prankster mowing letters in the grass and someone begins to threaten Jamie when threatening Kip to do what they want him to do on the job got them nowhere. They sent her pictures taken of her and Kip when they were out and about with the meaning that they could be gotten to.  It seems that a businessman wants to drain a wetland and build an office building there and Kip is the deciding vote on whether the city council builds there or keeps the wetlands. When Duke hunts down the person who sent those emails he gets nowhere so he decides to catch him in the act and when he does he finds out the guy was just a PI who had no idea of what he was doing and planned to call his boss and quit.  They were all at the Rennaissance Fair and soon the PI's body is found dead in the woods.  They figure out who must have done it, but proving how he did it becomes a mystery indeed.

I really enjoyed these three mysteries. Janie is a very likable character and so are her cadre of friends, especially Duke the womanizing, always drinking PI whose office is out of a bar.  And who wouldn't want a better friend than Gracie who is always there to help Janie when she needs it the most?  I plan on reading more of this series because I just can't wait to find out where the story goes from here.

People say it takes only ten minutes to get used to a luxury, but a lifetime to get over losing it.
-Barbara Venktaraman (Death By Didgeridoo p 4)

Time was not on my side and the Rolling Stones could not convince me otherwise.
-Barbara Venktaraman (Death By Didgeridoo p 40)

Everyone you meet has emotional baggage—even me. Honestly, if I had any more baggage, I could start my own airline.
-Barbara Venktaraman (The Case of the Killer Divorce p 94)

It turns out that superheroes always wear bright colors, that way they’re easy to recognize.
-Barbara Venktaraman (Peril in the Park p 339)

Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jamie-Quinn-Mystery-Collection-Books-ebook/dp/B00NB78KDS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1496151962&sr=1-1&keywords=barbara+venkataraman

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