Thursday, March 12, 2009

Trish McGuire Mystery

R E V I E W

Barrister Trish McGuire has a full plate. Not only does her younger half-brother David live with her, but she has recently changed her law practice from criminal to commercial. There's also her estranged father, Paddy, to deal with as well as her paramour, George. So when she is asked to investigate the workings of a small art gallery, she hesitates. But the request comes from an old friend of the head of chambers and Trish knows that to refuse or to fail will have a direct impact on her income and status within the chambers.

Toby Fulwell is the gallery manager. He is being subjected to extortion, with his family at risk from the criminals. He can't tell anyone though because the criminals know about a youthful indiscretion he committed. As Trish begins to investigate and spend time at the gallery, Toby thinks she is one of the watchers sent by the criminals. Worse, his son and Trish's brother attend the same school. So when Toby sees Trish at the school, his paranoia is heightened.

The original basis for the gallery goes back to the trenches of World War I. Ostensibly based on a love story, it soon becomes clear there is more to this than smuggled paintings and lost love. As Trish tries to unwind what is going on with the gallery, she revisits the history of WWI, and unwittingly feeds Toby's fear endangering Trish, David, and ironically, Toby and his family.

A Place of Safety is an excellent mystery, penned by Natasha Cooper, published in 2003. Cooper spins the threads out in such a manner that the layers are intricately woven together, yet never overwhelming to the reader. Mysteries that add layers just to add confusion are annoying. This is not one of those. Every thread, every layer, makes perfect sense, yet they are all a bit off center so the characters cannot make sense of the entire picture until it is almost too late. It is a masterful crafting of how experience and personal demons can skew one's perspective so that two people seeing the same situation see it in very different lights. At some point while reading this, the blogger was mentally urging Trish to just "TALK" to Toby! Yet, that is not her brief, and she has no idea how she is contributing to the downfall of the situation.

A Place of Safety is available at Reston Regional Library in the mystery shelves, as are other Trish McGuire mysteries.  Check them out!

/kw

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