Sunday, February 07, 2016

Mixed Up with Murder by Susan C. Shea

It could be mixed up with art, or mixed up with academia. Susan C. Shea's Dani O'Rourke is mixed up with a world that combines both in her latest mystery, Mixed Up with Murder.

Dani, the chief fundraiser for Devor Museum of Art & Antiquities in San Francisco, is flattered when a board member asks her to serve as a consultant for Lynthorpe College in Massachusetts. He's worried about a large gift, and wants her to ensure that the college can accept it without legal hiccups. Vincent Margoletti, a graduate, has offered his alma mater twenty million dollars, and the bulk of his contemporary art collection. What could be wrong with it?

What if no one at Lynthorpe is enthusiastic about Dani's work except for a researcher? What if a vice-president dies suddenly on the golf course? What if Dani is uncomfortable while she searches for discrepancies in two sets of records? It isn't long before a simple consultancy turns into a case in which, once again, Dani is mixed up with murder.

Tension rises as Dani digs herself deeper into the world, only to find assistance from two unexpected sources, her ex-husband, Dickie, and her boyfriend, Charlie, a San Francisco homicide investigator. They were the only ones she could really trust, two outsiders, but she's determined to step up and save herself by finding answers.

And, that's where I have a problem with Dani's actions. She takes too many risks, feeling she can't rely on the local police to find answers. And, I'm not the only one who feels Dani takes too many risks. She jeopardizes her relationships when others feel the same way, and she even admits she is sometimes too impulsive and quick to act.

Mixed Up with Murder is a plot-driven mystery, one that skillfully combines the world of art research and the politics of the academic world. Shea's mystery is for those readers who appreciate rising tension propelled forward by the actions in the plot. And, those who enjoy mysteries set in the world of academia will appreciate the college setting, although perhaps wishing for a little more campus politics. Susan C. Shea brings together art and academia to thrust her character into a setting in which she's, once again, Mixed Up with Murder.

Susan C. Shea's website is

Mixed Up with Murder by Susan C. Shea. Reputation Books. 2016. ISBN 9780986203138 (paperback), 313p.

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