Review: Calculated Loss is the third mystery by Linda L. Richards to feature former stock broker and current day trader Madeline Carter, this time leaving Los Angeles for Vancouver to attend the funeral of her ex-husband, renowned chef Braydon Gauthier.
Though Braydon's death is ruled a suicide, his family is suspicious, especially when leadership of his company is turned over the brother of Braydon's current wife. When Madeline arrives in Vancouver she is asked by Braydon's family to take a look at the corporate finances, and what she finds concerns her. Though the company appears healthy, it has recently been delisted from the major stock exchanges. Madeline's subsequent investigation leads her to believe that Braydon did not die by his own hand.
At one point in the book, Madeline muses, "And what, I asked myself, did any of this have to do with me? Nothing, I told myself. Everything. Old debts, new curiosities, and the curse of a personality that seldom lets me leave well enough alone."
Richards effortlessly blends Madeline's reminiscing about her life with Braydon and her current investigation into his death. It's frequently very touching and, as the author mentions in a forward, very personal. The background information required to explain some of the corporate antics are appropriately detailed without weighing down the story. The plot itself is well thought out and plausible, though Braydon's death from the fruit of the "suicide" tree is a bit of a cliché. (And it's never quite explained how he came to ingest it.)
Calculated Loss has a more reasoned, better structured and focused story than Richards' previous book in the series, itself the very appealing The Next Ex. As a result, it is an intriguing mystery that effectively combines high finance with haute cuisine and is highly recommended.
Acknowledgment: Mira Books provided a copy of Calculated Loss for this review.
Review Copyright © 2006 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Next Ex
Mira Books (Mass Market Paperback), November 2005
ISBN-13: 9780778322405; ISBN-10: 0778322408
Death Was the Other Woman
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), January 2008
ISBN-13: 9780312377700; ISBN-10: 0312377703
Location(s) referenced in Calculated Loss: Vancouver
— ♦ —
Calculated Loss by Linda L. Richards — A Madeline Carter Mystery
Publisher: Mira Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $6.99