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by Isis Crawford
Kensington, December 2004
280 pages
ISBN: 0758206852

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

When Leeza, a manipulative country girl from Missouri, gets an arrow through the heart on her wedding day, it isn't Cupid manning the crossbow. Arriving at the wedding marquee to set out the food for the party, sisters Libby and Bernie Simmons discover not only Leeza, but also a strange mechanism that seems to have delivered the fatal shot.

Leeza was due to marry Jura, her former boss and one of three Estonian brothers who own a caviar business, at his country estate in West Vale, New York. Many years her senior, Jura seems to be coping a little too well with her untimely death, and the West Vale Police don't seem to be investigating very hard.

Libby and Bernie's eccentric aunts feel partly responsible for Leeza's death as they introduced her to Jura and, although they didn't like her very much, they hire Libby and Bernie to investigate further, with help from their wheelchair-bound father Sean, a former policeman. The case tempts Sean to leave the family home for the first time in years.

There is an interesting cast of ongoing series characters here; Libby the home girl and her more outrageous sister Bernie, back from living the high life in LA contrast each other well. The eccentric communist aunts are great fun and so is Libby's admirer Marvin as he takes his first steps in sleuthing, terrified by the presence of Sean.

Bernie has a passion for explaining the derivation of words, which some enjoy as interesting word play, but which I have to admit I found rather irksome and occasionally rather patronising, as indeed did some of the book's characters. There are enough interesting people in this book that this obvious gimmick seemed superfluous, but alas it seems that all new cozy series have to have one. Despite myself, I still found some of this interesting, though.

A CATERED WEDDING is the second novel by Isis Crawford featuring the Simmons sisters, the first being A CATERED MURDER. It is fluently written, and is a quick and enjoyable read, and I look forward to watching this series and its characters, particularly Sean and Marvin, develop.

Reviewed by Bridget Bolton, February 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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