In Perfect for Framing, Maggie Bishop brings back Jemma Chase, the engaging heroine of Murder at Blue Falls, and Tucker (whose first name appears to be Detective), one of Bishop’s most romantic heroes—intelligent, sympathetic, and gorgeous—a refreshing change from the stereotypical police detectives in this genre of mystery).
This time, carpenter/photographer/dude-ranch trail-boss/CSI-hopeful Jemma becomes entangled in the murder of the power-abusive President of a nearby property owners’ association. Naturally, Jemma’s involvement is both a distraction and a delight for Detective Tucker.
As a victim, Petula Windsor is perfect for killing. As suspects, the subdivision’s resentful property owners would throw a barbecue celebrating Petula’s death if they dared. In the first paragraph, Jemma hears one property owner say her death “might be a relief to a lot of us.”
Readers who know Bishop’s work, however, also know better than to jump to conclusions. Perfect for Framing turns and twists like ski tracks on Sugar Mountain. In a masterful stroke, Bishop tucks the key to the mystery into a one-page prologue. No—I’m not giving anything away. If you reach the end, find the connection, and don’t slap your forehead, it’s likely because you’re not the forehead-slapping sort.
Bishop’s delightful cast of reality-based local characters round out the dramatis personnae, including one first responder named Maggie.
Perfect for Framing is, in short, a delicious romance wrapped up in a brain-tickler of a mystery with a solution that can, in the end, be both frustrating and satisfying—frustrating because it’s hard to unravel; yet satisfying, because when the solution is revealed, it feels inevitable.
Find yourself a cat or two, a comfy couch, and some time alone, then settle in for a story that is as deftly crafted as Jemma’s cabinetry, and entertaining as Tucker’s bemusement when Jemma gets it right—again!
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