Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sheila Lowe's Poison Pen - First in Series!

Poison Pen: A
Forensic Handwriting Mystery
By Sheila Lowe
Obsidian
300 Pages


Are you a "forensic" fan like I am? Well, then you definitely will enjoy the debut of Sheila Lowe's new forensic handwriting mystery series, starting with Poison Pen.

Through a bit of serendipity, I had the opportunity to read both Poison Pen and the follow-up book, Written in Blood this past weekend--what an enjoyable opportunity!

Claudia Rose, our forensic expert, was pulled into action when her former college friend was found dead in her hot tub, seemingly as a suicide. Only her alleged note,

IT WAS FUN WHILE IT LASTED

did not match the personality of Lindsey Alexander. Indeed, most people who knew her would not be surprised if she were murdered--their surprise was that she had supposedly committed suicide!

There was only one man who seemed to mourn Lindsey's death--Ivan, her business associate, friend and executor of her will. From the personal side, Ivan was sure that Lindsey had not committed suicide; from a business side, the insurance company refused to pay on a suicide. There was no choice; Ivan had to convince Claudia that she must help him prove whether the suicide note was authentic.

Claudia, as well Kelly, her best friend, had been "burned" once too often by Lindsey and couldn't even pretend to know why they had attended her funeral. But with Ivan's pleas, Claudia forced her memories back to college days when she and Lindsey were still friends and agreed. The one thing she required, however, was hard to find--she needed samples of Lindsey's handwriting in block printing, as the suicide note had been created.

Ivan pointed out that this was a very important reason to assume that the note had been faked--Lindsey always wrote in cursive; in fact, trying to find similar documents forced further and further involvement as Claudia worked with Ivan to find needed evidence. That is, until Ivan was murdered!

And when Kelly admitted that she was afraid she "might" have killed Lindsey, while she has also discovered that another good friend, Zeb, had written Lindsey a threatening letter, Claudia is pulled in well beyond her original task of authenticating writing. On the other hand, working with Detective Joel Jovanic and finding a mutual attraction developing between them, placed her in a difficult spot where loyalty to her two friends forced her to make difficult choices. Especially when Claudia finds she could very well be the next victim!

This is a whodunit that will wrap you tight--into trying to solve the mystery along with Claudia. Even though I was narrowing down my own suspects, I wasn't quite sure what had happened until the very end--after all, among many others, there was the senator who had been blackmailed by Lindsey, or her brother who had once been Lindsey's partner in her schemes!

Poison Pen is a page-turner that will keep you reading! Enjoy!

And, now...I'm on to reading Written in Blood!


G. A. Bixler