Saturday, March 07, 2009

Posed for Murder by Meredith Cole

My review of Posed for Murder as it appears in Mystery News.

Posed for Murder
by Meredith Cole
St. Martin's Minotaur
ISBN 978-0-312-37856-1
Amateur Sleuth

This winner of the St. Martin's Minotaur/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition introduces Lydia McKenzie, a photographer with an unusual slant to her artwork. Intrigued by a true crime book about cold cases, Lydia used friends as models, posing them as the victims of the unsolved crimes, ones that took place in her New York neighborhood of Williamsburg.

Lydia's first gallery show doesn't draw a large crowd, and the gallery owner is a louse, but her problems only grow worse when NYPD Det. Daniel Romero and his partner show up. Soon after she learns that one of her models was murdered, and the crime scene resembles her photograph, Lydia shuts down the exhibit. She feels threatened by the use of her photographs by a murderer, and she's determined to protect her friends and models. The closer the murderer comes, the more Lydia realizes someone knows more about her close circle of friends than they should.

Meredith Cole's debut shows promise, but the pace grew a little tedious at times as one friend after another was picked off by the killer. If the friends had been better developed as characters, it might not have seemed so repetitive. It's hard to see a sequel about Lydia's photography career, since her interest was crime scenes, but there is potential in the secondary plot. Lydia is a secretary for a run-down detective agency owned by two brothers, still under the thumb of their domineering Italian mother. Perhaps I'm too old to appreciate Lydia's obsession with vintage clothing, and her life in her rat-trap apartment building. However, there's humor and promise in the detective business, and a possibility of romance with Det. Romero. It will be interesting to see what direction Cole takes if she continues with a series.

Rating: 3 1/2

Reprinted with permission, from Mystery News, Vol. 27, Issue 1, Feb./March 2009.


Molly said...

I learn to appreciate good writing by reading your reviews. For example: if the friends had been better developed as characters, it might not have seemed so repetitive." You provide me with an education outside the classroom, and I greatly appreciate it.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Molly. I never think of myself that way, but I'm glad you're learning something. I just try to be honest about my opinion of the books.