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A Trouble of Fools

By Linda Barnes

I used one of the tools on the library website’s “Find Materials” area to look for another mystery series that someone who likes Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone books would enjoy. The computer recommended the series of novels by Carlotta Carlyle feature cab driver turned police officer turned private investigator Carlotta Carlyle.

The computer did a pretty good job with that suggestion– this was a likeable character and an engaging story… fine for a rainy day or reading in the airport. I can’t give it a rave review– for all its charm, it was clearly written so that its author, who was a few books into a traditional male private eye series, could leap onto the mid 1980’s bandwagon that went lumbering down the road chasing Grafton’s and Sara Paretsky’s lucrative and successful series. The plot could have been traced directly out of those pioneering women’s earliest mysteries.

[Still, you don’t read mysteries out of a desire for novel narrative structures, so is this the worst thing in the world? I think not.]

I’ll give this book a striver’s B+, and will read on in the series to see if the author’s later books made Carlotta Carlyle into something other than a tall, red haired shadow of Kinsey Milhone.

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