Clinton Maslow’s highly anticipated premier gala evening comes to an abrupt close when the talented young artist falls tragically to his death. Unfortunately, he exited from Danielle (Dani) O’Rourke’s fifth floor office window with multiple clues pointing to Dani’s involvement. As chief fund-raiser for the Devor Museum of Arts and Antiquities in San Francisco, Dani is instrumental in bringing in the dollars necessary for art acquisition.
The death of an up-and-coming new talent such as Maslow sent shock waves through the museum staff and the close-knit art community. That Clint and Dani had previously dated and a note from her was found on his body requesting he meet with her in her office, led a number of people to believe she had something to do with his death. She found herself the focus of unwanted attention by those investigating Clint’s death.
While the investigators did not necessarily believe she was directly involved in Clint’s fall, she was certainly someone of special interest to them. As further information came to light, Dani’s possible role in Clint’s death continued to hit too close to home, and she decided she needed to arrive at the truth before the police made an arrest – especially if they continued to focus on her.
There are a number of interesting characters active in the lives of those involved with the Devor Museum and in Dani’s life. Her ex-husband Richard (Dickie) Argetter, III, her best friend Suzy Byrnstein, her boss Peter Lindsey, and her assistant Teenie Watson, as well as others involved in the art scene. Of special interest to Dani is a certain police detective with compelling green eyes upon whom she would love to spend time conducting her own investigation.
Susan C. Shea’s debut mystery Murder in the Abstract finds its characters deeply entangled in the fine art community of San Francisco and Santa Fe. Ms. Shea writes with an assurance that she has intimate knowledge into what she is sharing with the reader. Her descriptive narrative brings realism to the story – the fog of San Francisco and unexpected snowstorm in Santa Fe, for example.
The shadows, sounds, and sights of the locations depicted in her story all add to the feeling of dread that the well-developed storyline is soon going to take a turn for the worse. And it does.
How Dani gets out of her predicament, and who are the good guys and bad guys, provide an intriguing story starring a heroine, and of course a hero, just begging for a sequel. Hopefully, we have not seen the last of at least some of this interesting and sometimes eccentric group of characters.
A special thank you goes to Susan C. Shea for providing an ARC of Murder in the Abstract for this review. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of this marvelous mystery, it is available for purchase from Amazon.com.