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A Hard Bargain    by Jane Tesh order for
Hard Bargain
by Jane Tesh
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Ex-beauty queen Madeline Maclin is trying to make a name for herself as a private investigator (attaining a crown was never her own personal goal, but that of her pushy mother).

Madeline opens her office in Celosia, North Carolina where she hopes she can make a mark in her new profession and get away from the echoes of a runway. She shares an old house with Jerry Fairweather, a longtime friend and, she hopes, future husband. Jerry has problems in addition to running scams to part his clients from their money. And a movie company wants to use the old house for exterior shots for a horror movie.

The plot gets a bit complicated at this point but author Jane Tesh never loses sight of the clues she scatters along the way. The action moves slowly but surely with a wealth of characters to carry the plot. Some of the players are a bit whacky or maybe intense is a better word for the conviction each carries for their own cause. An easy, light mystery, A Hard Bargain is a fun book cleverly written.

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