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Monday, 30 December 2019

‘Quick on the Draw’ by Susan Moody

Published by Severn House,
31 December 2019.
ISBN:978-1-84751-845-3 (PB)

An invitation to lunch from Sandro Grainger, he of the Botticelli angel looks, and a relation through her brother in-law to the extremely rich Grainger’s, former police detective Alex Quick is sure something is up.  As she succinctly puts it ‘I can’t kid myself that a twenty-five-year-old guy such as yourself would seek out a woman of my age if he didn’t have some kind of Agenda’. After a few false starts the story unfolds. While staying at his Uncle Cesare’s grand apartment in Venice Sandro threw a real grown-up dinner party to celebrate his birthday – private chef, black tie and all. Nine well-bred friends attended, except some valuable items went missing and one has turned up in a London pawnshop.  And said Sandro, my uncle can be ‘fierce’.

Which? Asks Alex, of your well-bred friends do you suspect? I don’t know said Sandro sadly.  But can you talk to them and find out.

Eventually, the decision is that Sandro will arrange another party at his London flat and invite a few work colleagues, and all the same guests from the party in Venice and Alex can grill them, or words to that effect.  

So armed with a list of well-bred possible thieves – old school friends twins Harry and Jack Jago, Fabio Wisdom, a fashion designer in Milan, also a great friend of Katy Pasqualin who manages an art gallery in Kensington, Laura whose a model, Bianca Mondori (works in the City) and Sandro’s girlfriend Suzy Hartley Haywood and her brother Tony, Alex is all set….. although as she muses why would a wealthy member of the jet-set need to steal anything anyway?

Before Alex has got her investigations underway one of the original dinner guests is murdered and Alex makes plans to visit Venice the scene of the original crime.  But not before her neighbour Major Norman Horrocks, who has appeared in earlier books, has presented her with another problem one of epic proportions.   

As Alex pursues her investigations in Venice matters get murkier and murkier, when another of the original guests disappears and life gets very complicated. What seemed to be a straightforward bit of thieving is clearly something much deeper and darker, and with her friend Sam Willoughby currently visiting his brother Harry in New Zealand who can she trust.

Cleverly plotted, this intriguing mystery like the two previous ones in this series had me completely foxed.  Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett 
Susan Moody was born in Oxford is the principal nom de plume of Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist best known for her suspense novels. Susan Moody began writing crime novels with Penny Black, the first of the seven Penny Wanawake crime novels.  She has a second series of six books featuring bridge player Cassie Swan. In all, she has published 29 novels, most of them crime and suspense. Susan spent two years as a Creative Writing Tutor in Her Majesty's Prison, Bedford. She is a past Chairman of the Crime Writers' Association, serving in all as a CWA Committee member for seven years. She is a long-standing member of the prestigious Detection Club and served for three years as the President of the International Association of Crime Writers.  In 2016 Susan Moody began a new series featuring Alex Quick. Click the title to read a review of the first and second books in her Alex Quick series. Quick and the Dead and Quick off the Mark

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