Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway
A Claire DeWitt Mystery by Sara Gran
Review: Years ago, Claire DeWitt dated Paul Casablancas. But when things began to get a bit too serious for her, she left for Peru, ostensibly on a case but really to put some distance between them. By the time she returned months later, he was dating her friend Lydia, who he would ultimately marry. But when Paul is murdered in his home, presumably surprising a burglary in progress, Claire is determined to solve the case in Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway, the second mystery in this series by Sara Gran.
The police have few leads, and after a few weeks, other crimes have taken on greater urgency and Paul's murder is quickly becoming a cold case. But not to Claire. She's puzzled by two aspects of the crime scene that seem, well, wrong. First, the door to Paul's home was locked when the police arrived. There was no sign of forced entry, so if it was a burglary in progress, how did the thief get in? And more importantly, why did he — or she — take the time to lock the door behind them after killing Paul? Second, out of all the expensive and easily hocked items in Paul's home, only five guitars are missing. Not the most valuable ones, or even the most convenient ones to take. These are clues to Claire, but clues out of context to the bigger picture of who killed Paul … and why.
Set in present day San Francisco, Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway is written from the perspective of Claire, the narrative comprised of a random stream of (often drug-induced) consciousness. There is some measure of continuity to the story, but it's tenuous. She is constantly referring to this case or that, and more often than not it seems there may be a vague link between these cases to her present investigation, but that may be wishful thinking on the part of the reader. Too, there is an unresolved — and unrelated — 25-year-old backstory from Claire's time in New York City that is apparently the common thread that links the books in this series together.
This isn't the easiest book to read, what with the back and forth in time between San Francisco and Brooklyn and Claire's constant referral to other cases, both past and present, relevant and not so much, yet it is oddly compelling in an idiosyncratic sort of way. But it is ultimately disappointing because the mystery surrounding Paul's death is so thinly developed and plotted; it's a case that could have, indeed should have been wrapped up by the police within hours of discovering the body.
Acknowledgment: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt provided an ARC of Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway: San Francisco, California
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Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway by Sara Gran — A Claire DeWitt Mystery
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: June 2013
List Price: $20.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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