by Amanda Cross
Ballantine, December, 2000.
Hardcover, 259 pages.
In what appears to be a testing of the waters for a new series, Kate Fansler meets up with an ex-lawyer turned private investigator named Estelle "Woody" Woodhaven. Woody is a thirty-something, apparently pretty, p.i. who rides a motorcycle and obsesses constantly about her weight, which is not insubstantial. Woody has been asked to investigate the death of a truly obnoxious Professor of English Literature who was quite the pedant on the subject of his favorite poet, Tennyson, when he wasn't putting down women on a regular basis, both in his department and in his personal life. Professor Charles Haycock suddenly keels over dead at a party in his own home, after drinking from the ghastly Greek liquor known as retsina. Woody asks Kate Fansler to consult on the case and to provide explanations of the machinations of a fractious college department. There are suspects galore, and Woody quickly develops a hero worship of the elegant Kate, and less than pure thoughts about the Denzel Washington look-alike police officer whom Kate's husband has talked into helping Woody with the case.
Woody is about as different from Kate Fansler as it is possible to be. Yet, they are both smart, independent women. Woody is fresh, she's funny and strikingly vulnerable beneath her armor plated exterior. Woody and Kate make a great team, but the show here is all Woody's. We look forward to seeing more of a very intriguing new private investigator.
--Claire E. White
Honest Doubt is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the March, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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