My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a fascinating murder mystery and is sold with the tag line that is the first in the Las Vegas Mystery series which pleases me no end.
We start off a little awkwardly by viewing the world through the eyes of Helen, named after Helen of Troy. It is so confusing at the start until you understand that the person she is having a conversation with is her dead husband Bobby. Then we are confronted with a pet dropping a gift of love at Helens feet – a severed finger complete with French manicure. Turns out that Bebe, her next door neighbour / prostitute has been brutally murdered and Helen appears to be the only witness. Helens sister Pat (named Cleopatra after another renowned beauty in history) arrives in Las Vegas via Arizona to try and help the police to get Helen to talk. Which proves to be a challenge as Helen is living in a world of her own.
The course of the book takes place over several days. Helen is a filthy recluse and a hoarder and has actual conversations with her husband which tends to throw people for a loop. Pat is the sister who feels that she abandoned her sister when things really started to go badly for her. She couldn’t cope with her sister’s mental breakdown and feels a great deal of guilt for it and wants to do the right thing by her. But the underlying question is, despite her mental instability, is Helen a murderer? There are other players in this story, such as Pat’s two teenage sons who get up to their fair share of mischief in the city of sin and the smart detective who manages to keep all the strings to this mystery in hand as they untangle and it ends with a satisfying crescendo.
I loved the pacing of this book. There were no dead pockets of story that felt like filler. The characters are relatable and sympathetic and personally likable although at the start when Helen is at her sickest she is not so visibly attractive. The story unravels until the end all and the time I was wondering the significance of the title which reveals itself at the very end – and it’s worth waiting for.
A great cosy thriller. It’s a wonderful way to spend a day.