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A BETTER CLASS OF MURDER


By Joyce Christmas

Fawcett, 2000
$6.50 paperback
ISBN 0-449-15013-5

Reviewed by S. E. Warwick

Joyce Christmas has given a new twist to series sleuths. Her two protagonists, Lady Margaret Priam and Betty Trenka, both veterans of their own series, are thrown together when their paths cross in the priciest parts of Manhattan. They join forces to find a killer and along the way learn far more than they want to know about honor among thieves.

Though the daughter of an earl and a retired private secretary would seem to have little in common at first blush, Priam and Trenka share that most elusive of qualities in today's weird world -common sense.

As Betty temporarily trades her comfy sneakers for elegant pumps, Lady Margaret steers her through the salons of what passes for high society in New York. A hilarious misunderstanding about Betty's last name tucks a light subplot below the more sinister surface of the tale that wends its way through the dark underbelly of computer game wealth.

Christmas follows all of the rules to create a satisfying and sustaining story. Take this one to the beach and give new meaning to the phrase "Christmas in July!"

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