Death as a Fine Art
Review: PI Margaret Spencer is hired by the widow of a man the police concluded committed suicide even though no fingerprints were found on the dead man's typewritten "suicide note" — indeed, not even on the typewriter itself — in Death as a Fine Art, the fifth mystery in this series by Gwendolyn Southin, set in 1960s Vancouver.
Jonathan Standish was the owner of The Silver Unicorn Gallery. After closing the shop one evening, he returned to his office at the rear of the building, where a stranger was waiting for him. He ordered Jonathan to sit at his desk, and then shot him through the head. The police investigation finds no evidence of foul play and, given the presence of a suicide note, closes the case. Jonathan's widow is convinced he was murdered, and ask Margaret and her partner Nat Southby to find out who killed her husband.
Their investigation quickly thrusts them into the world of stolen paintings and fake reproductions, and any number of people with motives to want Jonathan dead. Unfortunately, Margaret cannot devote all her time to the case: her youngest daughter is getting married, planning a large church wedding, and she must deal with her estranged husband to finalize the details.
Death as a Fine Art is an entertaining mystery, centered on the strong, compassionate character of Margaret Spencer. The storyline covers her balancing her professional and personal lives, but also includes a nice balance of the character showing her amusing, light-hearted moments together with her serious, down-to-earth ones. In the end, however, it is a quest for the truth that drives her — and the reader — forward.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Death as a Fine Art.
Acknowledgment: TouchWood Editions provided a copy of Death as a Fine Art for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Death as a Fine Art: Vancouver, British Columbia
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Death as a Fine Art by Gwendolyn Southin — A Margaret Spencer Mystery
Publisher: TouchWood Editions
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: September 2012
List Price: $14.95