Naked Came the Phoenix
Nevada Barr, J. D. Robb, Nancy Pickard, Lisa Scottline, Perri O'Shaughnessy, J. A. Jance, Faye Kellerman, Mary Jane Clark, Marcia Talley, Anne Perry, Diana Gabaldon, Val McDermid, Laurie R. King
Every once in a while, a group of people get together and write a serial novel. Each writes a chapter, then the next author in line builds on it and adds twists to further the story. The fun, of course, is to add a twist to challenge the author of the next chapter. Then the writer of the last chapter has to pull everything together with a plausible ending. There's a tradition for these serial novel titles to start "Naked Came..."
Naked Came the Phoenix pulls some eminent women mystery authors together to write a twisty cozy mystery. Marcia Talley edited the final work as well as writing one of the chapters. Seeing each author set up the next is part of the fun of reading this novel. One would twist the mystery in a new direction, then a couple chapters later another twists it back with plausible explanations.
The mystery in Naked Came the Phoenix is coherent and usually easy to follow. Since each writer could do what she wanted with the clues and direction of the book, the reader can't predict much of what is going to happen. Laurie R. King is the author of the last chapter and has to tie everything together. She does that well, although there are a couple threads that don't quite spin out right.
Carole Blessing's father just died. Her new husband, a junior congressman, sends her and her mother to an exclusive spa for a respite. This is a chance for Carole to get away. Her mother , Hilda Finch, had always been the driving force in the household. Caroline and Hilda don't get along well, but Caroline is willing to try to get along and perhaps get a better understanding of her overbearing mother.
The night of their arrival, after everyone is sleeping, the owner of the spa is murdered. Caroline and Hilda find the woman's body in the mud bath the next morning. That's when Hilda reveals that she is the new owner of the spa. Many famous people are there for the ten day stay. Which one of them had a secret to hide? Who wanted the spa owner dead?
Naked Came the Phoenix is a lot of fun. It's a good escape or beach novel. I had a great time watching how these thirteen women put together a twisting novel and make it believable even as they throw a curve to the next writer.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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