From: James R Winter ( winter_writes@earthlink.net)
Date: 29 Jan 2005

I keep wondering if Marcia Muller likes researching her novels more than writing them. EDWIN OF THE IRON SHOES was clearly written by a woman who has to be dragged kicking and screaming out of curio shops, antique dealers, and junk shops. It didn't show up so much in ASK THE CARDS A QUESTION, but Muller's passion for antiques and kitcsh comes back in full force in THE CHESHIRE CAT'S EYE, along with another passion, restoration of Victorian homes.

Not that I'm complaining. The early McCones are quite good, and I picked up on the series despite LISTEN TO THE SILENCE being my first book by Muller.

In this one, McCone goes to a Victorian home under restoration to meet an interior designer friend. Only he's dead when she gets there. That puts her at odds with casual boyfriend and homicide cop Greg Marcus. (And while the lover-rival dynamic is a bit treadworn, I like Marcus much better than McCone's current squeeze, Hy Rypinsky.)

McCone has a list of suspects, none of whom she likes for it. The police are working a burglary angle, which Marcus doesn't like either, a lot less than McCone working the case. The house belongs to David Wittringham, a real estate developer and a gay man. Wittriingham's father was killed in the same house only three years earlier (still an open case, another thing that bugs Marcus). Wittringham lives with a neurotic man from Dayton, Ohio, named Paul, who probably buys his Valium at CostCo by the crate. Wittringham's restoration efforts are stalled by Eleanor van Dyne, a wealthy socialite who's also a restoration purist. She doesn't cotton to David's "modern" remodeling of San Francisco's old Victorian homes. David's partner is an obnoxious, rather crude former rock promoter named Larry French. French acts the part of a rock star, arrogant, flashy, and used to getting his way. We never really learn if he is a sexist pig or if it's an act, but his temper makes him a !

While the story flowed much better than the first two McCones, I have to say the identity of the killer disappointed me. Just by actions and dialogue alone, I had the person pegged in the first third of the book. Still, it's a fast read, and McCone is less bogged down as an employee of All Souls. I miss these early McCones. I don't object to the domestic angle of the newer ones, but LISTEN was too weighty for my liking. CHESHIRE jumped right into the story and ran to the end.

So, anyone know if I can get a Tiffany kerosene lamp on eBay cheap?

Jim Winter

http://www.jamesrwinter.com http://jamesrwinter.blogspot.com winter-newsletter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 29 Jan 2005 EST