Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Review of Freeze My Margarita by Lauren Henderson (1998, Random House)

Freeze My Margarita was the fourth book in the seven part Sam Jones series that follows the sleuthing of a sassy sculptor who has a habit of finding trouble. In this outing a chance encounter in a BDSM bar leads to a commission to create a set of large mobiles for a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. Such is the scale of the job it demands working on site and mixing with the actors and stage crew. All is not well however within the theatre or amongst the cast, with rivalries and jealousies feeding gossip and sniping. Then a body is discovered in the bowels of the building, and mishaps start to occur during rehearsals. Sam can’t help performing a little amateur detection despite the police investigation. Moreover, given the investment, the show must go on regardless of jealousies, bickering and frayed tempers of cast and crew. The killer, however, has other ideas.

It’s 20 years since I first read the book when I was working my way through what was then described as ‘tart noir’; novels that featured a strong, sassy, independent female lead, usually with an active sex life, though also a slightly chaotic personal life. Sam Jones fits this bill, being fiercely independent and as confident at handling a welding torch as desirable men. Henderson charts Sam’s work in the theatre, her amateur sleuthing, and her new relationship with one of the actors. The setting in the theatre means there is a closed environment, plenty of characters and lots of rivalries between them. The mystery almost seems to take a back seat to the gossipy sniping and career manoeuvrings, and the denouement felt a little bit too contrived, but it’s a fun, entertaining read with never a dull moment. I never did get round to reading the last two books in the series, so if I can get hold of copies I'll probably finish it off.

No comments: