Susan C. Shea's Murder in the Abstract is a tantalizing debut mystery. It leaves the reader wanting more of the character, Danielle "Dani" O'Rourke, and hints at future romantic developments. Shea has given readers an inside look at the politics and backstabbing in the art world, a world ripe for murder.
Dani O'Rourke is the top fund-raiser for the (fictional) Devor Museum in San Francisco. Since she was married for a short time to Richard "Dickie" Argetter III, she has connections that prove invaluable in the active world of raising money and finding modern art for the Devor. On the night of a show, a body falls from the window of Dani's fifth floor office. It's unfortunate that she also has a connection to the dead man.
As the police question Dani, they point out the body came from her office window, there was a letter requesting he meet her in the office, and she had keys to that office. Is there a better suspect, although there were hundreds of people at the Devor that night? Although Dickie offers to get her a lawyer, Dani is afraid she'll ruin her career in the art world if she starts pointing fingers at her boss, other artists, or even a collector. Maybe she can convince the handsome Inspector Sugarman that the art world is filled with people who would kill over art. Just not her.
Shea takes Dani from San Francisco to Santa Fe's art community in a search for answers. Murder in the Abstract is a solid debut, with a likable amateur sleuth and a world that holds promise as a setting for future crimes. Let's hope there are additional mysteries in Dani O'Rourke's future.
Susan C. Shea's website is www.susancshea.com
Murder in the Abstract by Susan C. Shea. Avalon Books, ©2010. ISBN 9780803477681 (hardcover), 272p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a review copy, in hopes I would review it.