The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein
Review: Business is a little slow for Albuquerque (NM) Anasazi pot merchant and expert — and sometimes thief, at least in the eyes of the Federal government — Hubert Schuze, so a $2500 fee for a couple hours of consulting work looks like easy, found money. Except when it's lost, as he soon finds out in The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein, the third mystery in this series by J. Michael Orenduff.
Several of the pots he's appraising for a reclusive collector are copies and he should know: he made them. Initially curious by how the copies got there, he quickly shrugs it off: his appraisal will accurately reflect the value of the pots he has seen, not speculate on their origin. But when he returns from the job and realizes his fee is missing, he's determined to get it back … even though the collector is now lying on a slab at the morgue and Hubie is the last person known to have seen him alive.
The mystery plot is a little thin here and the whodunit never really in doubt. Rather, the reason to read The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein is to listen to Hubie tell his story. And yes, he does speak to the reader, but in contrast to the condescending manner in which this technique usually comes off, here it feels inclusive. The non-linear timeline takes a little getting used to, but that actually enhances the conversational tone of the narrative, makes it more "real", if you will.
Hubert Schuze is an eminently likeable, creatively drawn character and his supporting cast work well with him (though best friend Susannah's presence is a little overwhelming and can be a bit annoying at times). The term "victim" doesn't suit him here, so he quickly uses his resourcefulness — often in surprisingly clever ways — to turn the tables on those that schemed against him.
An imaginative aspect to the story also relates to the title. Hubie is reading a book on Einstein, and some of the conversation involves what he's learning … if anything. The tie between the scientific theories presented and the plot may seem tenuous at first, but in an unexpected yet entertaining way it works … in principle (pun intended).
Acknowledgment: Oak Tree Press provided an ARC of The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein: Albuquerque, New Mexico
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The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein by J. Michael Orenduff — A Hubie Schuze Mystery
Publisher: Oak Tree Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: November 2010
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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