A Cadger's Curse
Review: Diane Gilbert Madsen introduces former college English professor, now insurance investigator DD "don't ask me what DD stands for" McGil, who becomes embroiled in a complicated case of high tech fraud in A Cadger's Curse.
DD actually is short for Daphne December, the result of a power struggle between DD's parents and her Aunt Elizabeth "La Dragon" Foster, who just happens to be spending the Christmas holidays in Chicago. Aunt Elizabeth is an ardent fan of Robert Burns, and has with her what she believes to be an authentic window pane etched with an original poem by Burns, and smashed by the poet when it is deemed traitorous by the British. Aunt Elizabeth wants DD to authenticate it, but she is otherwise occupied with an emergency assignment to do background checks on four new employees of HI-Data, a super-secret technology firm a task that must be completed before the end of the year, just a week away. Before she can even get started, she mistakenly enters the wrong office only to find the brother of her dead fianc้ murdered. When one of the four prospective employees disappears and another commits suicide, DD doesn't know what to make of the situation
which only gets worse when the brake fluid line in her car is cut, nearly killing her on the icy roads of Chicago, and she later discovers a stack of counterfeit $100 bills in her purse.
A Cadger's Curse is a good start to this cozy series, introducing a number of solidly developed characters in DD, Aunt Elizabeth, antiquarian bookstore owner Tom Joyce, and even Cavalier, DD's cat and Wolfie, Tom's somewhat domesticated wolf. But while the narrative here starts strong and is crisply written, it tends lose its edge as it proceeds and becomes rather muddled towards the end. Part of the problem is the various subplots initially seem to be related or linked in some manner, or at least the reader is led to believe it to be so, but most never come together cleanly, and in fact the two primary ones DD's investigation at HI-Data and Aunt Elizabeth's Burns artifacts have nothing to do with each other, a bit of a disappointment, especially for a series with the tagline "a literati mystery." Still, it is likely readers will look forward to more literary-inspired (or at least literary-flavored) mysteries featuring DD McGil; the next has the intriguing title of Hunting for Hemingway.
Acknowledgment: Midnight Ink provided a copy of A Cadger's Curse for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author
Hunting for Hemingway
Midnight Ink (Trade Paperback), September 2010
ISBN-13: 9780738719535; ISBN-10: 0738719536
Location(s) referenced in A Cadger's Curse: Chicago, Illinois
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A Cadger's Curse by Diane Gilbert Madsen A DD McGil Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: November 2009
List Price: $14.95