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By Kris Neri

Rainbow Books, 1999 (HC)

Reviewed by Christine I. Speakman

Through the twist and turns of Kris Neri's missing bride plot, we are treated to a curl up on the couch comfort read.

REVENGE OF THE GYPSY QUEEN introduces us to Tracy Eaton, a character that had me smiling, laughing, and just plain shaking my head. Tracy is the daughter of two Hollywood legends and is a writer of mysteries. Tracy's life holds none of the adventure of her character's life, and she finds it a bit dull that she doesn't trip over cases that need solving or dead bodies in the same manner as her ficitonal character. However, she knows her first real case is just around the corner. She even goes so far as to introduce herself as a detective, much to husband Drew's dismay.

The main story revolves around Tracy's missing sister-in-law. Tracy now has the chance to do some detective work, and she discovers a few family-in-law flaws and secrets. She gets into all kinds of mischief: is nearly run over, twice, tells a New York cabby to "follow that car," hides in a mobster's car trunk, visits a seedy bar, is shot at, drags her husband on a rescue mission, and yes, saves the day.

Kris Neri writes with a crispness that keeps each scene clean of unnecessary clutter. The story is always moving forward, never stalling. Between Tracy's narrative and descriptions of her family, parents and in-laws, to each supporting character's own distinct personality, Kris Neri has filled this novel with lively humour. I hope we hear more as to why, when Tracy and Drew's mothers last met, Drew's mother left with a black eye. I did not anticipate this novel's conclusion, at least not the main storyline's conclusion. The conclusion of a sub-storyline was exactly what I was hoping for.

Tracy Eaton is a new favourite character and I'm looking forward to her next case.

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