Murder in the Abstract
A Dani O'Rourke Mystery by Susan C. Shea
Review: Susan C. Shea introduces San Francisco museum fund-raiser Danielle "Dani" O'Rourke, who is the center of attention after the body of an up-and-coming artist falls from her fifth floor office window, in Murder in the Abstract.
The Devor Museum of Arts and Antiquities is hosting a gala when Clinton Maslow is found on the pavement outside, having fallen to his death. Dani realizes in horror that it's her office from which he fell … and to make matters worse, the two had previously dated and Maslow had a note in his pocket from Dani asking him to meet her. The police don't necessarily suspect Dani — she was nowhere near her office when Maslow fell and there's no obvious indication of murder … yet — but she's clearly a person of interest in the case. When other evidence surfaces that implicates Dani in Maslow's death, she becomes suspect number one, and takes matters into her own hands to clear her name.
Despite the formulaic approach taken by the author in staging her book — a female protagonist being framed for murder, an attractive wealthy "social lion" ex-husband who's still in the picture, a good-looking and available detective who would rather be dating her than investigating her, a best friend to play off of who is largely the polar opposite of her — there's an unexpected originality to Murder in the Abstract that's quite refreshing. Certainly the art world setting helps, with its own cast of unusual, if not eccentric, characters and an abundance of motives for murder from which to choose, but mostly it's due to the creative writing style of the author, with comfortably flowing prose and colorful, easy-to-visualize descriptions of San Francisco and Santa Fe. Many authors try to accomplish too much with their debut mystery, but here there's a good balance between character introduction and development and a solidly devised straight-forward murder plot that is largely free of pointless twists, no mean feat for the first book in a series.
Acknowledgment: Susan C. Shea provided an ARC of Murder in the Abstract for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Murder in the Abstract: San Francisco, California, Santa Fe, New Mexico
— ♦ —
Murder in the Abstract by Susan C. Shea — A Dani O'Rourke Mystery
Publication Date: June 2010
List Price: $23.95
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites