Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Review of Money to Burn by Katy Munger (1999, Avon)

Casey Jones is a sassy, take-no-crap female PI who operates without a license for Bobby D., a hugely overweight lothario who charms his middle-aged clients. The third book in the series set in North Carolina, Casey’s new case is to protect a scientist, Thomas Nash, who’s been receiving threats while pursuing his quest to create a safer cigarette. Not long after she takes on the bodyguard role, Nash and his lab are burned to the ground. Investigating his death is not job Casey is going to leave to the cops. She starts to hunt for clues among Nash’s business venture and Durham’s wealthy tobacco elite and the family of the Nash’s financee. There’s plenty of intrigue to keep the gossip magazines in business, but it proves more difficult to spot the murderer.

I read books 1-5 pretty much when published, enjoying the combination of light-hearted humour, good mystery plots and engaging lead character. Casey lives in the moment and is happy to roll with the punches and between the sheets, determined to get her man and the criminal. In this outing, she’s out of her comfort zone mixing with high society, who seem to live by different rules. She’s not going to let a little inferiority complex hinder her though as she moves between down-at-heel bars, tobacco farms, and fancy parties and debutante balls. Munger spins out an engaging plot with plenty of potential suspects, intrigue, chases, dangerous encounters, and romantic interest, building to a nice denouement. And there’s a good sense of place and nicely spun social observation. Which leads me to wonder why I never completed the series; I might see if I can track down copies of books 6 and 7.

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