One wouldn’t expect the chief fund raiser for a posh art museum to find herself at the center of a murder mystery, yet that is precisely where Danielle “Dani” O’Rourke finds herself in Susan Shea’s debut novel, Murder in the Abstract.
What should be a triumphant, gala evening of celebration at the Devor Museum where Dani works is cut brutally short when up-and-coming young artist Clinton Maslow plunges to his death from an office window. The circumstances lead police to believe it was murder, and the fact that Dani previously dated the victim, not to mention the window he went out of was her office, quickly lands Dani at the top of the suspect list.
When additional evidence appears that seemingly further connects Dani to Maslow’s death, but which she knows was planted, Dani decides to get proactive in figuring out who really killed him and why they are trying to frame her.
Dani O’Rourke is a refreshingly real character: she’s closer to 40 than 30, closer to a size 14 than a size 4, doesn’t know martial arts or weapons, isn’t a master computer hacker, and she doesn’t single-handedly figure out whodunit. She’s just a regular gal caught up in a highly irregular situation, which makes her very easy to identify with because she could actually be your next door neighbor, an old college roommate… even you!
Shea has also given Dani a strong cast of supporting characters: the dashing police detective Dani finds herself attracted to, despite the fact he’s investigating her for murder; her über rich playboy ex-husband, who’s still carrying a torch for Dani; Rowland Reynold, a somewhat sinister Santa Fe based art collector and main patron of the dead artist; Suzy, Dani’s social-butterfly, gossip-hound best friend. They, and many others, flesh out the wonderfully colorful world Shea has created.
Whether you’re looking for a book to curl up with while having a glass of wine or one to stuff in your bag to take to the beach, Murder in the Abstract is picture perfect!
Murder in the Abstract is available from Thomas & Mercer (ISBN: 978-1477812853).