I had been hoarding the books in Sharon Pape’s Portrait of Crime mystery series, so when she told me the third one was due out soon, it was time to go back and start the first book, Sketch Me If You Can.
Zeke Drummond thinks Rory McCain is, “One cantankerous female.”” Of course, Zeke is the ghost of a federal marshal, who really doesn’t understand the role of modern women. Rory, a sketch artist for the Suffolk County Police on Long Island, thinks he’s too overbearing. She accuses Zeke of being, “The most frustrating, obstinate man I’ve ever met”. Maybe they both need to back off just a little.
When Rory’s uncle, Mac McCain died, her left her his car, his private investigation business, and his house. The first couple times she went to his house, she was mourning his death, and just thought maybe she missed him when she felt uneasy in the house. She hadn’t read the letter Mac left her, telling her his business boomed after he partnered with the ghost in his house, the ghost of a federal marshal. Ezekial Drummond had been shot in the back there in 1878. So, she was in denial when Zeke first showed up.
It’s while she’s cleaning out her uncle’s office that one of his former clients approaches Rory to ask her to look into his sister’s death. He swears she was murdered, while the police say it was an accident in the new house she was decorating. She’s intrigued enough to ask a few questions. But, when the questions stir up trouble, Rory and Zeke start pushing back. And, they both suspect the woman’s death may have resulted in Mac’s death. It’s hard to stop a “cantankerous woman” and the ghost of an “obstinate man.”
This debut novel in the series is fun, with two characters with interesting backgrounds. Zeke Drummond was a federal marshal in the Arizona territory in 1878. The author provides just enough of that storyline in Arizona to pique the reader’s interest. Zeke was following a man there who kidnapped young girls, and after finding a girl’s body in the desert, he was more determined to find the killer. This book focuses on Zeke’s search in Arizona. It doesn’t reveal yet how Zeke reached New York, but I’m sure it’s coming.
Rory McCain is a police sketch artist, licensed as a detective because of that job. It’s a job that works for her in this case, and she’s able to work with Zeke for needed sketches. Rory and Zeke may have worked successfully together to wrap up a couple murder cases in Sketch Me If You Can, but it’s going to be fun to watch the relationship between these two as they squabble, learn to work together, and learn to work across the difference in styles that result from living in different centuries.
Sharon Pape’s website is www.sharonpape.com.
Sketch Me If You Can by Sharon Pape. Berkley Prime Crime. ©2010. ISBN 9780425236048 (paperback), 293p.
FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of the book, with no assurance I would review it.