|"Why would Mitchell send white roses when he knew...?|
A picture of Gran in her coffin flashed before her eyes.
For a moment she doubted herself. Hadn't she
mentioned...? She had. Ashleigh had specifically
told him that white roses reminded her of death..."
Webs of Fate
By Darlene Quinn
Scheduled Out October 1, 2011
Whew! The Prequel to the Webs of Power series is fantastic! If you haven't read Quinn yet, I encourage you to start with this prequel before moving on to Webs of Power and Twisted Webs (Click to my earlier reviews). It is, of course, a great stand alone novel, but also does provide an earlier look at several of the main characters that brings each even more alive to readers.
Ashleigh McDowell, our main female character, had been engaged before. She had loved Dan dearly and before he died, Ashleigh had promised to look after her sister Danielle Norman. Now years later, Danielle was working as a buyer for Bentleys Royale, while Ashleigh was the leader in the human resources area and had done much to ensure personnel issues were routinely and quietly handled. She was well respected by all, even though none of them really knew her secret connection to Bentleys Royale.
Now, Danielle has disappeared and there were signs that she may have been attacked and taken from Bentleys...
But there are also signs of major financial tampering in her sales area--was she responsible for the thefts or had she discovered what somebody else had done and been taken because of that knowledge?
Fighting against Danielle's supervisor who immediately wanted her fired and replaced, Ashleigh realized that they needed to find Danielle to really prove her innocence. But she was met with resistance from everybody, including Mitchell, her fiancee, who was just too selfish to have time taken away from him, even for Ashleigh to help a close friend.
As the investigation continued however, Mitchell became involved personally when one of his investments, Medley Originals, was named as one of the vendors who apparently was involved in the embezzlement.
"Ashleigh fingered through the Medley Originals sweaters, which were displayed in new Lucite bins, and looked up when the associate returned from the dressing room, her dark eyes filled with enthusiasm. She pointed to her special twenty-four-karat, gold-plated associates' badge with two sparkling diamond chips, which identified Angela as a member of the honorary Hundred-Thousand-Dollar-Cl;ub. Though inflation had more than doubled the average sale over the past two decades, for the sake of morale, the sales requirement for the honorary club had not been raised..."
Amid the constant daily business life of the struggling but highly recognized Bentleys Royale, readers see the beginnings of corporate takeovers, merging, and loss of autonomy by the leaders of individual stores. One man, in fact, Conrad Taylor, had already been brought in and was overseeing activities at Bentleys. But he also one night met Ashleigh outside the home of Danielle Norman, both there to try to find some reason, some understanding of what Danielle has gotten herself into. Ashleigh finds herself attracted to him, even as she becomes more sure that she cannot marry Mitchell Wainwright. What she can't understand is why Conrad is personally involved and, even more, why he has access to Danielle's home...
However, when Ashleigh becomes the target of death attempts, she is glad Conrad has her back!
Webs of Fate is the best of Quinn's books, in my opinion, providing an outstanding drama and excellent murder mystery. The fact that it also provides a solid background to this series is a bonus. Having read the entire series, knowing that each are powerful novels, I choose this as my favorite just because I enjoy the whodunit aspect wherever I find it! For corporate power action and suspense, the entire series must be applauded. It is clear that the author has a solid background in the world of department store management. This latest novel shows her expanding beyond her, perhaps, comfort zone into the mystery/suspense genre. Certainly a success! Highly recommended...