A Hard Bargain
A Madeline Maclin Mystery by Jane Tesh
Review: Former beauty queen Madeline Maclin returns in A Hard Bargain, the second mystery in this series by Jane Tesh.
One of Madeline's first cases as an independent private investigator is to locate a man whose belongings were placed in the care of a neighbor who is now eager to get rid of them. While searching through boxes belonging to the missing man for clues to his whereabouts, she finds $10,000 in cash, money no one thinks he could legitimately have earned. In parallel to her investigation, she's also trying to understand what really happened on the night her best friend's parents were killed over 20 years ago. There are a couple of other subplots that are peripheral to the story but help introduce additional characters.
Madeline is a well-drawn and appealing lead for the series and A Hard Bargain is mildly entertaining as a cozy mystery. There are, however, some fairly obvious inconsistencies in the plots of each of the main storylines that must be either overlooked or forgiven in order to enjoy the story. The missing person's case really isn't much of one (Madeline locates him with minimal effort), and it's hard to believe that the police investigating the deaths of her friend's parents decades ago didn't put forth the very same questions Madeline asks the family today. And for all practical purposes, Madeline accidentally stumbles onto the solution of the only real mystery in the book, the murder of the director of a movie that is being filmed in her community.
A Hard Bargain is probably not the best choice for that inclement afternoon, but it won't disappoint either.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of A Hard Bargain for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
A Little Learning
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), May 2009
ISBN-13: 9781590586501; ISBN-10: 1590586506
Location(s) referenced in A Hard Bargain: North Carolina
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A Hard Bargain by Jane Tesh — A Madeline Maclin Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: January 2007
List Price: $24.95