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  • O'Connell, Carol
  • O'Donnell, Lillian
  • O'Kane, Leslie
  • O'Shaughnessy, Perri
  • Osborn, David
  • Osborne, Charles
  • Osborne, Denise
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    $7.19 $2.48 list($7.99)
    1. Killing Critics (Kathleen Mallory
    $7.19 $3.00 list($7.99)
    2. Invasion of Privacy
    $7.19 $1.95 list($7.99)
    3. Judas Child
    $6.29 $0.99 list($6.99)
    4. Black Coffee: A Hercule Poirot
    $6.29 $0.88 list($6.99)
    5. Spider's Web
    $5.99 $1.91
    6. Designed to Kill
    $34.95 $23.16
    7. Writ of Execution
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    8. Positioned to Die
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    9. Naked Came the Phoenix: A Serial
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    10. Breach of Promise (Bookcassette(r)
    $25.95 $9.99
    11. Obstruction of Justice (Bookcassette(r)
    $24.95 $6.00
    12. The Unexpected Guest
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    13. Unfit to Practice
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    14. Acts of Malice (Bookcassette(r)
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    15. Casual Affairs
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    16. The Life and Crimes of Agatha
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    17. When the Fax Lady Sings : A Molly
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    18. Cop Without a Shield
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    19. A Good Night to Kill
    $32.95 $21.94
    20. Move to Strike

    1. Killing Critics (Kathleen Mallory Novels (Paperback))
    by Carol O'Connell
    list price: $7.99
    our price: $7.19
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0515120863
    Catlog: Book (1997-07-01)
    Publisher: Jove Books
    Sales Rank: 100591
    Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (16)

    5-0 out of 5 stars gripping, breathless,and thoroughly satisfying
    This is my favorite in the Mallory series so far. Mallory is getting a bit more vulnerable as we come to know her - like anything, you have to work at it and it makes it the more satisfying. The premise was a bit confusing - or maybe i lack the necessary insight to get it in one take, but I found that as I re-read the book I picked up on things that I missed in my haste to absorb the novel. The extra cast were delightfully well-designed - I particularly enjoyed the character of Quinn, who seems to be sort of Mallory-like himself. The book is thoroughly entertaining and ultimately very satisfying. I've read some less-than-generous reviews and I urge those readers to try again. There are a few things that feel awkward the first time... so, once more, from the top. The writing is good enough to stand alone without the complex plot and intiguing characters. Maybe it's just too much of a good thing, literary overload for the faint of heart. Don't give up, you will be rewarded.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'm hooked on Mallory!
    Each Carol O'Connell book is better than the previous, which simply amazes me. Mallory is a character unparalled in the genre, and Killing Critics also further developed Charles. Flawed as they are, all the characters in the Kathleen Mallory series fascinate the reader. What a great read!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Please just keep 'em coming O'Connell
    This third book in the series is just as great as all the others, maybe even a little more so. All the characters I've come to love are here as well as the introduction of J.L. Quinn (pretty please let him reappear). This was an intensely emotional story that ends with a bang. Art cricits are being killed off and it has something to do with an old crime handled by her late foster father. All hell breaks loose when a determined Mallory reinvestigates. We've gotten to know these characters so well by now that when Riker's past is delved into or Mallory is proven to be as destructible as the next person, the reader is there. The ending left a quite a blow and I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next one in this series (The Stone Angel). I really can't praise this series enough for it's deep character development, unusual as well as strong heroine and well written plots.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Chilling blend of horror and heartache
    This was the first Carol O'Connell book I read and still one of my favorites. It's the only book that ever scared the hell out of me while making me cry for so many characters who were irreversibly devastated by their loss. Carol O'Connell has a wonderful way of creating characters who are rarely likable or sympathetic but who are almost always interesting.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Intense Read!
    This is my third venture into Kathy Mallory's world. Descriptions of crime scenes are gory. Neverending tension! Thank heaven for the men around her to balance her out. She's intense and seemingly invulnerable. I could not put the book down! What a ride! On to the next! ... Read more

    2. Invasion of Privacy
    list price: $7.99
    our price: $7.19
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    Asin: 0440220696
    Catlog: Book (1997-06-09)
    Publisher: Island Books
    Sales Rank: 62387
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Twelve years ago, a young girl disappeared.Now a filmmaker has made a movie about it.The girl's parents call it invasion of privacy.A woman lawyer calls it murder.

    The bloodstains on the courtroom floor belong to attorney Nina Reilly.Months earlier she'd been shot during a heated murder trial.She should have died that day.Instead, Nina has returned to the same Lake Tahoe court.Her only concession to her lingering fear is to give up criminal law.She figures an invasion of privacy lawsuit is a nice, safe civil action that will help her support her young son and pay the bills for her one-woman law office.She figures wrong.

    Nina's client is Terry London, a filmmaker whose documentary about a missing girl is raising disturbing questions.The girl's distraught parents believe the film invades their privacy.But Terry's brutal murder changes everything. Breaking her promise to herself, Nina decides to defend Terry's accused murderer, a man she'd known years before and hoped never to see again. Suddenly the secrets of Nina's past are beginning to surface in a murder case that gets more dangerous every day.The evidence against her client is shocking and ironclad--a video of Terry's dying words.The only chance Nina has to save the man may be illegal.And if it fails, Nina may lose the case, her practice...and even her life. ... Read more

    Reviews (18)

    4-0 out of 5 stars IF YOU LIKE "WHO DONE ITS" YOU WON'T PUT IT DOWN!
    Second in the series of heroine Nina Reilly as a reluctant criminal justice attorney. Fast paced, yet with sufficient background of the characters, to allow you to read without prior books. I have read both "Motion to Suppress" and "Invasion of Privacy in paperback, have now ordered both with the latest,"Obstruction of Justice" in hardback. These sisters join my hardcover author's Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Arthur Haily, Michael Crichton, John Grisham, William J. Caunitz and Clive Cussler on my book shelf. You will know "who done it" in the last few pages, I dare you to guess.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I read this book in one day and all night, really that great
    This was the first book by these authors. They left me wondering until the very end who the guilty person was. Also, it is interesting to have a personal touch added regarding the past life of Nina. Adding this to the story gives it a more believable plot. I have ordered and read the following three novels and am soon to order their last one just released. The thread is carried into the novels following this which makes it so much more easy to know about the characters. These authors are great and I hope we see more of Nina Reilly.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish
    I love good thrillers, and am willing to put up with a few flaws for the sake of a good story. But I had to stop reading this one. There were just too many situations where the characters behaved in completely implausible ways. For example: when the main character Nina's 11-year-old son goes missing, her brother tries to get her to go out to dinner. I cannot imagine that idea even crossing the mind of any actual human I have ever met. Later, while the son is still missing, Nina is attacked and her belongings destroyed by her erstwhile client. In a piece of truly extraordinary dialogue, our heroine declines to inform the police who did it and asks the client whether she did it "because of the case." (A case which Nina had just won for the client.) The client proceeds to verbally attack Nina, who backs down. What?? I am inclined to think the heroine should have been named Ninny--no one that spineless could have made it past the first two weeks of law school, or at least not the one I attended. My capacity for suspending disbelief was pushed far past the breaking point with this silly book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nina Reilly Returns
    Having recently relocated to Lake Tahoe, lawyer Nina Reilly vowed never to work another murder trial after her first one ended in a nearly fatal shoot-out. But if you are a regular reader of the legal mystery/thriller genre you know those kinds of resolutions fall to the wayside quickly. Nevertheless, "Invasion of Privacy" starts off innocently enough as Nina returns to the courtroom -- defending a client's First Amendment right to release a documentary film about a young women who disappeared from the Tahoe shores many years ago. With the case looking to be in the bag, Nina's eccentric client suddenly turns downright nasty. What follows is a roller-coaster ride that uncovers many long-kept Tahoe family secrets and even some involving Nina herself.

    As in their debut Nina Reilly novel "Motion To Suppress," the O'Shaughnessy sisters excel in unfurling a highly-readable, if nearly unpredictable (and at times equally unrealistic) courtroom-based mystery. However, while we learn more about the Nina's past in this novel, I still have some issues with her development as a character in this series. I believe her as a hard-nosed and competent lawyer who can not seem to stay out of danger but find the transition to caring mother and an object of desire (to no less than three men in "Invasion"!) far less convincing.

    "Invasion" is not a perfect novel by any stretch of the imagination, but nevertheless it is an entertaining pool-side/wrapped-up-in-a-blanket/rainy day read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best defense is most certainly the last.
    The Defense in any mystery is what comes out from the author's imagination. No wonder wehy these sisters arte so compelling when it comes to great mysteries. A truely great read from start to finish. Grisham has his rivals from this author. A great mystery and it will not be their last either I hope. ... Read more

    3. Judas Child
    by Carol O'Connell
    list price: $7.99
    our price: $7.19
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0515125490
    Catlog: Book (1999-08-01)
    Publisher: Jove Books
    Sales Rank: 66547
    Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Carol O'Connell has been consistently praised as a gifted storyteller (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), the author of stylishly innovative (San Francisco Chronicle), immensely affecting (Miami Herald) novels with an irresistible narrative force (Publishers Weekly).Now, she gives us a stunning new creation. It is three days before Christmas, and two young girls have disappeared from the local academy. This hasn't happened for fifteen years, since Rouge Kendall's twin sister was murdered. The killer was found, but now Rouge, twenty-five and a policeman, is forced to wonder: was he really the one? Also wondering is a former classmate named Ali Cray, a forensic psychologist with scars of her own. The pattern is the same, she says: a child called out to meet a friend. The friend is the bait, the judas child, and is quickly killed. But the primary victim lives longer . . . until Christmas Day.Rouge doesn't want to hear this. He's spent the last fifteen years trying to avoid the memories: drinking alone, laying low, washing out of school and a promising first career. Now he might abandon law enforcement, too--but something won't let him, not yet. A little girl has haunted his dreams all these years--and he has three days finally to put her to rest.Filled with the rich prose, resonant characters, and knife-edge suspense that have won the author so many fans, Judas Child is Carol O'Connell's most powerful novel yet. ... Read more

    Reviews (79)

    5-0 out of 5 stars WARNING - spoilers ahead!
    I can't remember another book that I have started reading again as soon as I finished it, nor another that reduces me to tears as the end unfolds every time I read it. The epigraph of the book should be Ali Cray's grim admonition in the first few pages: "Don't fall in love with the child. She's dead." The twists and turns of the story debouch into a conclusion so startling that returned to the first page and read the entire book a second time to see if O'Connell had cheated (violated the logic of her story's world). She hadn't. And standing with the priest and Becca Green at Sadie's grave, tears came to my eyes a second time. What an extraordinary book. The Judas Child is kidnapped to lure the real target into the killer's hands. Like a Judas goat leading the herd to slaughter. A serial killer has been murdering little girls for fifteen years, each Christmas. His first victim was the twin sister of one protagonist, the policeman Rouge Kendall. His last is the daughter of the Lieutenant Governor, and the Judas child he uses to snatch her is an amazing little girl named Sadie Green. It would make no difference, I think, if I told you when she dies. You would know I was playing games with you, and you would be as astonished and overjoyed at her sudden 'resurection' as I was. Some of the most vivid scenes of the novel take place in a surreal cellar where Sadie and her friend Gwen are trapped. And the last moments of their confinement are at once a nightmare, a ballet, and a puzzle. There is a certain cruelty about O'Connell's literary persona, a hardness that echoes Kathy Mallory's, and it is not evident here, nor is it replaced by the cloying sentimentality so typical of hard people. The ferocity of the priest, the madness of the psychiatrist, the toothy meanness of the killer, and the terrible relationship between Ali Cray and her ex-lover all play against the sentimental touches. Will this world go somewhere? Hard to say. Rouge and Ali Cray deserve another book, but they've gone their separate ways. Rouge's career is beginning; Ali has put her monsters away. There is one plot that could pull them back together. We'll see. Meantime, this is not a book to miss.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible !
    This is the first book by Carol O'Connell that I read and if her other books are only half as good, everyone will well be worth reading. "Judas Child" had me gripped from the very first page. Due to circumstances I had to read this in little installments over about a week but everytime I opened the book it took only a few sentences and I was inside the story again. I had to be very careful when reading because time just flew by. This must be one of the best mysteries I ever read. Up until now I had that pedestal reserved for Elizabeth George and Minette Walters, but Carol O'Connell is definitely up there as well.

    Just before christmas two children disappear from a small town. At first they are believed to be runaways, but soon this disappearance is tied to a crime that shocked the town fifteen years ago. A man had been convicted, but was it the right one ? A mad hunt for the children starts that involves many parties. Meanwhile the two children are trying to survive in a nightmare environment.

    The story twists and turns while always keeping your interest. Strong main characters, interesting secondary characters. The children are smart, but not too clever. Everything seems believable. And when the crime is solved, Ms O'Connell has another surprise in stock that threw me off completely. One last twists that beats them all. Absolutely fabulous !

    4-0 out of 5 stars Did You Get It?
    I'm giving this book just four stars because I'm inclined to agree with the other reviewers who say it starts out too slow and stays that way too long. (I originally thought it might just seem that way to me because I was expecting the intensity of the Mallory series.)

    I'm so glad I stuck with it. First, although it takes her awhile in this novel, O'Connell creates really great characters, especially female characters. Second, I've read a lot of mystery and suspense novels in my time. It's rare for one to really surprise me, but this one absolutely stunned me.

    I think the readers who rated it low either didn't finish it or didn't get it. It's easy to see how the latter could happen. You want to find out who the bad guy is and whether the girls are rescued in time. Once you do, you think, okay, that was pretty good, or not. But believe me, there's a lot more to this story--you need to THINK about it. I can't say more without spoiling it...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Haunting and unforgettable
    O'Connell's Mallory series is good. This book is great. Unlike most thrillers, which mingle in memory with a hundred other books like them, this novel lingers on your mind for years. O'Connell's adult characters are well drawn and sympathetic, but the little girls steal the show. Be warned--you will be late for work, stay up past your bedtime, let dinner burn on the stove, just to find out what happens to these engaging children. The tension is sometimes almost painful, but delicious at the same time. I have never read another book that made me actually want to jump into the pages and help a character. I hate to use a cliche, but this is a must read.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Good until the end
    I liked this book until I got to the end - I felt it a little too drawn out - but it still kept me interested. However, the author does not wrap things up too well. She leaves us too much in the "lurch". Like what is this whole thing about the priest and Arnie and their eyes? And what about the conversation between Rouge and Mortimer - what was that all about? And what about Sadie?

    I really HATE it when an author keeps me going and then leaves me FLAT - which is exactly the way I felt when I finished this book! It's kind of like the Grisham novels - he's got you going all over the place - than blam! - Nothing!

    This is the first novel I've read by Carol O'Connell and it will likely be my last! I only read it because a friend gave it to me a couple of years ago, and I ran out of things to read. What a waste of time! ... Read more

    4. Black Coffee: A Hercule Poirot Novel (Hercule Poirot Mysteries (Paperback))
    by Charles Osborne, Agatha Christie
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312970072
    Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 211263
    Average Customer Review: 2.88 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Nearly a quarter-century after her death, Agatha Christie remains the most popular mystery writer of all time. Now, in a celebrated publishing event, fans and newcomers alike are treated to another Christie novel. Created in 1930 as a stage play and faithfully adapted by Charles Osborne, Black Coffee brings back beloved detective Hercule Poirot to exercise his "little grey cells" one more deliciously deductive time...

    An urgent call from physicist Sir Claud Amory sends famed detective Hercule Poirot rushing from London to a sprawling country estate. Sir Claud fears a member of his own household wants to steal a secret formula destined for the Ministry of Defense. But Poirot arrives too late. The formula is missing. Worse, Sir Claud has been poisoned by his after-dinner coffee. Poirot soon identifies a potent brew of despair, treachery, and deception amid the mansion's occupants. Now he must find the formula and the killer...while letting no poison slip 'twix his low lips.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (51)

    3-0 out of 5 stars A commendable effort - but not for purists

    Since I've never seen the script of the original (1930) play, I cannot comment on the similarity between that script and Charles Osborne's conversion of the play into a novel.

    What I can say, is that - IMO - this is a highly commendable piece of fiction (for those who enjoy Agatha Christie-type murder mysteries). Furthermore, unlike his later later play-to-novel conversion "Spider's Web", this text reads like a genuine novel, NOT like a hastily edited play script.

    Of course it isn't a perfect example of a 100% genuine Christie novel. Christie was a far more talented writer than her later critics like to admit, and therefore not as easily imitated as one might expect.

    In this case, the text occasionally becomes a little too heavy-handed, and the plotting isn't as nearly dense or labyrinthine as in an original Christie novel.

    As to giving the game away, I personally prefer to read this kind of book as an entertainment rather than a MENSA examination, and as such I must confess that the passage in question passed almost unnoticed and in no way spoiled my enjoyment.

    So "E" for effort to Mr Osborne for this workman-like pastiche. A "lite" but enjoyable read and well worth the price.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Grave Robbing
    Anyone who respects Christie would understand that she wrote BLACK COFFEE as a play (her first) - and, in the theatre, its a sort of minor masterpiece. She often would adapt her novels into plays herself, and occassionaly, vice-versa. She did not choose to 'novelize' Black Coffee - because it belongs in the theatre. (same is true of Unexpected Guest and Spider's Web) Now, we have dreary, hackish "novel' versions of these, of which Christie would doubtless disapprove, written with NO sense of the stage (ie the dialogue is NOT the most important element), a tin ear, and, worse, idiotic 'improvements'. Its sad that people can ransack a dead author's work. Sadder still the estate allows it. On the page, however, it is not as bad as the truly awful audiobook version, with a half-dozen risable accents.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Adaptation of an Agatha Christie play
    Charles Osborne writes the novel "Black Coffee" as an adaptation of Agatha Christie's original play. This is a typical Hercule Poirot mystery with Poirot being called to the home of Sir Claud Amory, a scientist who suspects that someone in his household is trying to steal his secret formula. Poirot arrives just after Sir Claud is poisoned. He knows that the killer had to be someone in the room so he begins his investiation of the the four family members and two others who might be involved. The usual red herrings are thrown out before Poirot reveals the real culprit. This is an average Christie story and doesn't contain any of the clever twists that distinguish her best work.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A great Christie audiobook!
    This is a great Christie story and the final Poirot tale (despite the fact that it obviously takes place before "Curtain" it was published afterward). Despite the fact that it was originally a play and is therefore limited in location (most of it takes place in one room), it still comes across as good. The major complaint I have is that the murderer is revealed in the first cassette by telling what they do. On the stage as this was originally intended to be presented, the action would have been subtle amongst the other things happening on stage at the time and most folks probably would have missed it, but presented as this audiobook the action is trumpeted loudly and the rest of the time you're just waiting for the ending to come. The cat and mouse game Poirot plays with the killer is good and I can just imagine the theatre-goers holding their breath at that final exchange, but the rest of the book just doesn't cut it. Still, if you keep in mind that it was originally intended for the stage (and I think Ms. Christie would have omitted that telling detail if SHE had written it as a book) you can see where it would have been a smash hit.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Review of "Black Coffee" by : Agatha Christie
    This book failed in many areas. There was no plot, no suprise ending, no engaging characters. But to explain subsquent terms, the book lacks developement. Personally, I like a book that is straightfowrd, simple and doesn't waste time, and I like suprise ending's and such. Although this book was simple and straightfoward and only took me a day to read, perhaps it was TOO simple and straightfoward. Like I said no suprise ending, no plot or great characters. If you don' believe me read it for yourself. ... Read more

    5. Spider's Web
    by Agatha Christie
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312979509
    Catlog: Book (2001-08-01)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 108722
    Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Clarissa, the young wife of a foreign office diplomat, delights in tweaking the sensibilities of her more serious friends by playing a game she calls "supposing"--imagining a difficult situation and finding out how people would respond.But Clarissa's lighthearted games becomes deadly serious when she discovers the body of an unknown person in her own drawing room. If that weren't bad enough, her husband is on the way home with an important foreign politician. Clarissa decides to dispose of the body and persuades her three houseguests to help. But before she can get the corpse off the premises, a policeman knocks at her front door. Now Clarissa must keep the body hidden, convince the skeptical police inspector that there has been no murder, and, in the meantime, find out who has been murdered, why, and what the body is doing in her house...
    ... Read more

    Reviews (14)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Why bother? Only if you've read all the other Christies
    Like "Black Coffee" an adaptation of an Agatha Christie play. Also like "Black Coffee" it is interesting as a relic, not really as a novel in its own right. Osborne has, with the desire to be true to Christie, taken her script, used the dialogue and stage directions to tell the story, with very little addition of imagination. Curiously, perhaps fortunately, the telling improves during the last third of the book; less stilted, more humourous, more real. The plot itself is pure Christie, as are the characters; they have just the right quirks that her creations are capable of. One problem, though, and this is perhaps inherent with the translation from stage to paper, is that in the biggest action of the story ~ the hiding of the dead body ~ the motivation of the three men is not clear; why do they agree to do what Clarissa wants? On stage the advantage is that the action moves more quickly, the audience has less time to wonder such questions, and there is a greater suspension of disbelief than can be assumed in a novel. The action, therefore, which probably makes perfect sense on the stage is questionable here, and since that action is a, if not the, hinge of the plot, a weakness results. This raises the question, Should plays be translated in this fashion? Answer: Probably not; except that this does make an additional way new readers can be introduced to Christie. Of course, that raises the question, With more than eighty books available, who still needs an introduction?

    2-0 out of 5 stars Osborne manages to be Christie 'Lite'
    Agatha Christie is the Master of the sophisticated, too-too British, country manor murder mystery. All that I have to SEE is her name on a book and I grab it up fast as I can! That's how I became the owner of Spider's Web at a recent book sale.

    After reading the first few pages it didn't have that cozy, snuggle into the book feeling of a Christie and I couldn't figure out why. Finally (LIGHT BULB) I examined the cover and "saw" Charles Osborne's name. With a little digging I uncovered the true facts: This is indeed a Christie. An adaptation of her play, turned into a novel by Charles Osborne.

    It has some small charm, but leaves me wanting the full-bodied robust flavor of 'Ten Little Indians' which was referred to in the text of this book.

    When I finally understood WHAT it was I was reading (adaptation of a Christie play, written by another) I was able to finish the book, but under Osborne's hand, the elements of the stage production are not well hidden. When character's come into the room, it is an Entrance. There is an artificial flow to everything that is written, as though it were still a stage play complete with stage directions for each character's actions.

    Clarissa is 'breezy', her husband Henry 'bumbling', Pippa --- 'hungry'. All Fun for the stage and giving the viewer something to identify, but not very satisfactory for a murder mystery novel.

    So, gentle reader, if you are looking for vintage Christie, don't be fooled by the cover. You won't find it here.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Sorry Agatha...
    I was thrilled after searching for years to find a transcript for "spider's web" that it was available as a novel. The thrill was soon gone. How one can manage to turn a most charming play in a bore is a mystery to me. The large print didn't help neither. You will be better off watching the movie with Glynis Johns and John Justin or the more recent BBC tv-adaption starring Penelope Keith as the perfect Clarissa.

    3-0 out of 5 stars cute and entertaining
    The Unexpected Guest was, in my opinion, Osborne's best adaption, so it was hard to follow that. However, like all Christie's stories, this one does have some really well drawn characters. The nosy gardener with the boisterous laugh has to be one of her best supporting players. Even when she's annoying, she's a howl. Not great but still a nice addition to the
    A.C. canon.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't catch a tired out blue bottle

    This is the third example of Charles Osborne's mission to convert Agatha Christie's stage plays into novel format. For some strange reason, considering the excellent job he made of "Black Coffee", this time he has, most surprisingly, produced an absolute clunker.

    First and foremost it lacks any effective characterisation. I got the feeling that I was reading a description of the play by someone who was very competent at remembering the dialogue, but who really wasn't very interested in either the characters or the play itself.

    The story, such as it is, moves along in a jerky and very obviously contrived manner - the sort of thing you only notice in a live performance if the actors are second rate.

    My second criticism concerns the plot itself, which might well have been sufficient for a two hour play, but is far too meagre to justify a full-length novelisation. It is, in fact, a combination of two ideas that appeared elsewhere as short stories - one as a Poirot tale first published in 1923, and one which was subsequently (1979) included in "Miss Marple's Final Cases" .

    In short, though the original (1954) play was described as a "comedy thriller", the novel is entirely bereft of either humour or thrills. Definitely not worth any kind of recommendation. ... Read more

    6. Designed to Kill
    by Denise Osborne
    list price: $5.99
    our price: $5.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0425189112
    Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
    Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
    Sales Rank: 514197
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    When a New Age center attracts bad energy, Feng Shui expert Salome Waterhouse must redirect her ch'i-and find the lines that lead to murder. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Feng Shui practitioner Salome Waterhouse is at it again
    Salome Waterhouse is a feng shui practitioner. She is leading a feng shui seminar at a New Age conference at the Star Institute. Toby Ashcroft, Institute owner and former tycoon, has recently been found murdered in the pumpkin patch on the Ashcroft estate. Star Institute is also on the estate and just feet away from where he was found.

    Salome's cousin, Phyllis Waterhouse, is now dating Detective Gordon Child, the lead detective on the Ashcroft murder case. She asks Salmoe to look into the murder while there. Detective Child also has asperations to be Governor of California.

    Unbeknownst to Phyllis, Salome has begun a private study of properties where murders have been committed. She is doing this to see if there are similarities that hit at potential violence. When she has studied more properties, she plans to publish her findings. She is hopeful that this will interest law enforcement.

    On the way to the Star Institute, Salmoe is run off the road. When she catches a glimpse of the driver, she thinks it looks like her recently made enemy Duncan Mah but can't figure out why he'd be in California instead of DC where he lives.

    She later realizes at the conference, that it was Ross Penderville, one of Toby's partners in Toys for Techies (his business) that ran her off the road. He is quite chummy with Ivy Waterhouse, Toby's sister. She is in charge of the Star Institute now.

    I am not a fan of feng shui but I still enjoy this series. The situations that Salome finds herself in are very amusing and this is a very enjoyable series. The author definitely knows a lot about feng shui and has weaved it into the story in a delightful fashion.

    This is a great cozy mystery. I recommend it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars tremendous amateur sleuth
    A father and his children stop at a pumpkin stand to buy an artistically carved jack-o-lantern when one of the kids discovers that a scarecrow in the grove is a dead man. His throat has been cut open and the case attracts a lot of media publicity because the victim is Toby Ashcroft, who founded his own company, which made him millions before it went bust. His sister Ivy, who inherits his whole estate, is holding a new age symposium at Star House and one of the speakers is Salome Waterhouse.

    From the time, she arrives on the Ashcroft estate, feng shui practitioner Salome finds very little to recommend the place. After a guest is murdered, the conference is canceled with everyone getting sent home. When the police arrest a suspect, Salome thinks they made a mistake and applying the same senses she uses in feng shui, she investigates the murder to insure the vindication of the innocent party.

    Denise Osborne does an incredible job showing what feng shui is (and is not) and how readers can apply the techniques, with very little effort, into their everyday lives. The protagonist combines mysticism with pragmatism, but her willingness to go one step or more beyond the norm is what readers will admire about her. This amateur sleuth tale is one book that is so entertaining it must be finished in one sitting.

    Harriet Klausner ... Read more

    7. Writ of Execution
    by Perri O'Shaughnessy, Laural Merlington
    list price: $34.95
    our price: $34.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1587884518
    Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
    Publisher: Brilliance Audio Unabridged
    Sales Rank: 645285
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Masterful storytelling ... gripping legal drama ... relentless suspense -- these are the hallmarks of Perri O'Shaughnessy's work. Critics hail her legal thrillers as "terrific ... will keep you turning the pages into the night" (USA Today) and "a real puzzler ... with twists diabolical enough to take to court" (The New York Times Book Review).

    Now the New York Times bestselling author of Move to Strike returns with Writ of Execution, an electrifying tale that plunges attorney Nina Reilly into a shadowy world of high-stakes money and cold-blooded murder.

    In the mountain resort town of South Lake Tahoe, Nina Reilly is known for taking on the underdog cases, the kind that can make -- or break -- her one-woman law practice. Her latest case begins in the middle of a summer night when she is called away from a very personal visit to her investigator Paul van Wagoner's hotel room to meet with a desperate new client at her office who gives her name as Jessie Potter. The frightened young woman has just hit a huge slot machine jackpot, and the men in suits are waiting to hand her the check just as soon as she tells them her real identity.

    With time running out, Nina helps her client devise a brilliant plan to collect the money while keeping her true identity a secret. Unfortunately, powerful interests have lined up to grab the money. The gaming commission thinks the jackpot was rigged. The man sitting on the seat just before the jackpot hit says it's his, and he doesn't mind going outside the law to get it. And the wealthy man stalking Nina's client has retained an unscrupulous local lawyer, Jeff Riesner, to attack the jackpot winnings using a legal maneuver called a Writ of Execution. The odds of Jessie ever collecting are starting to look hopeless.

    For Nina, what began as a fight for an underdog in federal court soon escalates into something very different and far more dangerous. Jessie has a secret, and she needs that money for a very good reason. By the time Nina discovers that Jessie is withholding vital information, it might be too late for her client and even for Nina herself.

    Because somewhere in the darkening Tahoe night, people are dying. A cold-blooded, obsessed killer will stop at nothing -- including execution-style murder -- to get that jackpot in a case where the Writ of Execution has become more than a legal maneuver; it's a death warrant.

    Sweeping from the glittering casinos of Tahoe to the drama of a packed courtroom to the darkness of a woman's secret past, Writ of Execution is spellbinding entertainment -- Perri O'Shaughnessy's most intricate and compelling novel to date.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (28)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not as Good as Previous Nina Reilly Novels
    Although I had read and thoroughly enjoyed all other novels in the Nina Reilly series, I was disappointed by "Writ of Execution." This novel concentrated less on Nina and more on the client, Jessie Potter, who hired Nina to assist her in collecting on a multi-million dollar slot machine jackpot. I always enjoyed the relationship between Nina and her acerbic secretary, Sandy, as well as Nina's relationship with her son, Bob. Neither relationship was developed or included to any extent in this novel. Paul von Waggoner was an abbreviated character in this book as well, and he's one of my favorites! I eagerly await the next installment in the Nina Reilly series--and hope that Nina receives a warm welcome from Paul when she arrives in Carmel.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT LEGAL THRILLER
    Attorney Nina Reilly has made a living by taking the underdog cases, and her latest is no exception. Called away in the middle of the night by her friend and investigator Paul Wagoner, Nina meets her new client, a young woman going by the name Jessie Potter. Jesse explains she has just hit a huge slot machine jackpot, but the casino's management will not pay the winnings until she gives them her real name.

    Desperate to keep her identity hidden, but wanting her winnings, Jesse will need the help of Nina.

    Nina has come up with a brilliant plan, one that will enable her client to collect the winnings and keep her identity a secret. Unfortunately, things do not go as planned...

    The gaming commission thinks the jackpot was rigged, and the man who was sitting in the slot machine' s seat prior to Jesse, feels the winnings are his, and will stop at nothing to get them.

    What ensues is a legal battle, with something very dangerous at the core. Nina's client Jesse, harbors a dark secret, and needs the money for a good reason. The deeper Nina probes into her client's past she realizes she is withholding vital information, and time is running out for Nina because as the clock ticks a killer roams the night...a killer willing to do anything to get the jackpot.

    'Writ Of Execution' is another fast-paced page-turner, in the long line of excellent Nina Reilly novels. The plot is well developed, and utterly engrossing. Page by page, the reader is sucked into the suspenseful, intricate web being spun, and when the court room scenes comes into play, it's as if, we the reader, are actually there in the jury box.

    Perri O'Shaughnessy burst on to the literary scene several years ago, and since then they have been consistent with creating suspenseful, masterful legal thrillers, full of crisp dialogue, complex plots, and real characters all driven at an extremely fast pace.

    A MUST read!

    Nick Gonnella

    3-0 out of 5 stars SO SO...
    This is a mediocre legal thriller, and my first introduction to this author. While moderately entertaining, I probably will not seek anymore novels by this author, as the writing tends to be pedestrian and formulaic. I also found the character of the attorney, Nina Reilly, to be uninteresting and an embarrassment to women in the legal profession. Perhaps, this was in part due to the fact that I listened to the unabridged audio book, where the reader infused Ms. Reilly's character with a breathy, little girl voice, that made her sound just this side of stupid.

    Still, the book had its interesting moments. The plot revolves around a young woman, purportedly of Washoe Indian descent, who calls herself Jessie Potter and has just won a seven million dollar plus jackpot at a Nevada casino. She wishes to maintain a low profile, as she has a deep, dark secret, so she retains Ms. Reilly as her attorney, seeking to collect the jackpot, while maintaining her privacy. Unbeknownst to Ms. Reilly and her client, someone else feels entitled to that jackpot and will stop at nothing, not even murder, to get it.

    In constructing the plot, the author, through one of the secondary characters, gives an interesting account of how these jackpots are designed to work, as well as a bird's-eye view of the gaming industry. Moreover, the courtroom scenes are of some interest. Still, this is not enough to make this a top notch legal thriller, as the writing never rises beyond hack status. The plot was too pat and contrived, at times, and the characters remain two dimensional throughout. I found myself neither caring for nor very much liking any of the characters. This over rated book remains simply a quick, throwaway read.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Beyond belief
    This was my first Perri O'Shaughnessy book. I got it free at the Bouchercon in Austin last October. I MIGHT read one of the earlier titles but it won't be first on my list. Perhaps it is the result of co-authors, but I found the writing to be difficult to navigate. Many times it was hard to determine who was talking. Too many thoughts to oneself interspersed with dialogue. Too many coincidences to make the story believable.

    I admit I am not fond of the female in jeopardy genre. And this one had TWO women making foolish assumptions and stupid moves. I had little sympathy for either of them.

    Nina Reilly is the single mom to a young boy. He is conveniently absent or accounted for often during the book, although Nina sporadically wrings her hands in concern for him. Her detective, Paul, seems to want to be with her regardless of her personal difficulties but he is often oblivious to those difficulties, too.

    This book was just too PC for me. A little of everything was thrown in for good measure, along with a lot of editorializing on the favorite soap boxes of the authors.

    Still, I finished it and did find it somewhat entertaining. The sisters need a good proofreader.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Consistent fun
    A story full of twists and turns. Its a very interesting plot, winning the big pot, was it a strike of luck or a bad joke from the devil? What deep dark secret can keep the winner from collecting what is lawfuly hers? These and more mysteries lead our picturesque team of the sensitive but persistent lawyer, the reliable with an almost frightening sense of protecting detective and his naive indian partner to play a who done it game with very powerful and dark charachters, that sometimes wear their angel disguises to perform their evil duties. ... Read more

    8. Positioned to Die
    by Denise Osborne
    list price: $5.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0425185478
    Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
    Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
    Sales Rank: 585507
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Washington, D.C.'s hottest home decorator has been found dead-at home. Teaming up with a private eye, Feng shui consultant Salome Waterhouse hopes to uncover negative energy and the truth. Salome has her suspicions, and her new neighbor is one of them. But so far, the only thing she can pin on him is bad taste. And that's not a crime-yet. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Feng Shui and Murder
    Salome Waterhouse is a Feng Shui practicioner. This is the 2nd book in this series. She arrives home to find she has a new next-door neighbor. Unfortunately he is not very neighborly. Duncan Mah gutted the gorgeous rose garden in his front yard to put in a large parking area.

    A famous decorator in DC is found murdered in his home. Salome and Judah Freeman, a PI and house sitter for Salome when she is out of town, team up to investigate this murder. Mr. Mah becomes a suspect. Salome cannot pin anything on him except his bad taste.

    Salome has begun doing feng shui consultations on houses where murders have been committed.

    Her ex, Gabe, who is a famous mystery author is recently remarried. His wife is redecorating their house and he asks Salome to house some items for him.

    Many things keep happening in Salome's life. Her neighbor, Fiona, has gone missing. Fiona had been following Duncan Mah. At first Salome thinks Fiona has gone to Chicago as she had been planning, but over time she begins to worry about her.

    Judah is separated from his wife Cookie. She has a restaurant called Cookie's. At a recent fundraiser at her restaurant a linguist staff has gone missing. Salome investigates whether the murder and the theft might be related.

    I found this book to be much more enjoyable than the first one in this series. I like the friendship developing between Salome and Judah. I think they work well together. I hope they do more investigating together in future books. I think Salome is constructed better in this book and we get to know her a little better.

    There wasn't as much Feng Shui in this book and a lot more investigating. This made it more believable and kept my interest. I recommend this book. ... Read more

    9. Naked Came the Phoenix: A Serial Novel
    by Marcia Talley, Nevada Barr, J.D. Robb, Nancy Pickard, Lisa Scottoline, Perri O'Shaughnessy, J. A. Jance, Faye Kellerman, Mary Jane Clark, Anne Perry, Diana Gabaldon, J.A. Jance, Val McDermid, Laurie R. King
    list price: $24.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312251947
    Catlog: Book (2001-08-01)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
    Sales Rank: 380616
    Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The promise of discretion and pampering-and a long-overdue reconciliation with her mother-draws Caroline Blessing, the young wife of a newly-elected Congressman, to the fancy Phoenix Spa. But after her first night in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Caroline wakes to find the rich and famous guests in turmoil and under suspicion: the spa's flamboyant and ambitious owner has been murdered. As the secrets come out-and the body count rises, can Caroline keep herself from becoming the next victim?

    In the tradition of such collaborative classics as Naken Came the Manatee and The Floating Admiral, each chapter in this serial novel is written by one of today's most talented mystery novelists. ... Read more

    Reviews (25)

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a hoot!
    Naked Came the Phoenix is a riot from beginning to end! When Caroline and her mother visit the Phoenix Spa in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, they expect rest and relaxation, but soon after their arrival, the spa's owner is found dead in the mud baths and the "fun" begins! Thirteen popular mystery writers take the reader on a roller-coaster ride of murder, mayhem and mirth. What fun to watch one author plant a clue then lean back, rub her hands together and wait to see what the next author does with it! Kudos to Nevada Barr for introducing us to the cast of supporting characters -- King David, the aged rocker; Ondine, the wrath-like model; Howie Fondulac, the has-been Hollywood producer; Lauren Sullivan, the movie star; and my particular favorite, Phyllis Talmadge, the psychic who's at the spa touting her latest book, Flex Your Psychic Muscles! Brava, Lisa Scottoline for giving us detective Vince Toscana, who "retired" to rural Virginia to please his wife, but wants nothing more than to sink his teeth into a Philly cheese steak, and, oh, by-the-way, solve the murders. Wheee, to JA Jance who drowns a victim in the lake and to Faye Kellerman, who knew CPR! Ka-pow, to Diana Gabaldon who really knows how to throw the reader a curve. Ye-gads, to Val McDermid who gives new meaning to the word "incarnadine". Wow, to the amazing Laurie King, who ties up all the loose ends with delicious tongue-in-cheek humor. And, thank you, Marcia Talley who sewed the patchwork together into one, seamless novel and is a heck of a writer, too!! All I can say is, "Encore"!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Amusingly Melodramatic Murder Mystery!
    "Naked Came the Phoenix" is a serial novel written by 13 top female mystery writers and it is a whole lot of fun! I was impressed at how well the chapters flowed together, and became totally absorbed in this soap opera-like mystery. "Naked Came the Phoenix" is not a serious murder mystery, and it's not supposed to be. What it is, is an immensely enjoyable tale filled with twists and turns and outlandish characters that was created for a very good cause.

    The story revolves around Caroline Blessing, a congressman's wife and cellist, who has taken a trip with her very difficult and newly widowed mother, Hilda Finch, to the exclusive Phoenix Spa in Virginia. Caroline hopes that their time at Phoenix Spa will give her mother and herself a chance to heal after her father's death, and maybe even a chance to bond. Unfortunately, Caroline's dreams of a relaxing and healing vacation go up in smoke when the spa's owner, Claudia De Vries, is found murdered in one of her own mud baths!

    Caroline realizes that everyone at the spa is a potential suspect and a potential victim. The spa's guests include a model-waif and her manager, an aging rock star, a short and stout grey-haired psychic, a dried-up Hollywood producer, and a beautiful and successful actress. They all have their own hidden connections to Claudia and secrets aplenty. Not to mention Claudia's own husband, the half-naked pool-boy, and the rest of the spa's staff. Everyone has something to hide, and these 13 talented authors take us along on a fast-paced and thrilling mystery filled with strange clues, red herrings, blackmail, and incest.

    And when more people start turning up dead, the very likable police detective, Vince Toscana, goes into overdrive trying to find the culprit. Not only is Caroline overwhelmed by what's going on around her, but she also must deal with some crushing news about her supposedly devoted husband Douglas. Caroline resolves to take her life back into her own hands and find out what's really going on, but there is nothing that can prepare her for the staggering truth behind the murders!

    "Naked Came the Phoenix" is an outrageous and exciting murder mystery that is sure to entertain. I found the first chapter, by Nevada Barr, a bit tough to wade through, but after that every other author was great. This book is just good clean fun, and if you read it with that in mind, I have no doubt that you will enjoy it enormously.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Blah Blend
    Nice idea, nice effort, but with a blah outcome. These writers, who are superstars in their own write, had to suppress too much of their natural talent to weave a seamless story. Don't buy, go to the library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Blending a Voice: Naked Came The Phoenix
    When I saw this awhile back at my local library, I was intrigued with the concept but very skeptical of the results. In this serial novel written to benefit Breast Cancer Research, Marcia Talley brought together thirteen female mystery authors together to create a serial novel. The thirteen authors are: Nevada Barr, Nora Roberts, Nancy Pickard, Lisa Scottoline, Perri O'Shaughnessy, J. A. Jance, Faye Kellerman, Mary Jane Clark, Anne Perry, Diana Gabaldon, Val McDermid, Laurie R. King and the editor herself, Marcia Talley, who also adds a chapter. With that much talent and totally different writing styles and perceptions involved, I expected a choppy, uneven novel. While that does happen in a couple of places, overall the merge is very good with plenty of surprising twists and turns to keep the reader guessing all the way to the end.

    The novel opens with quite a cast of characters that have brought to the very upscale Phoenix Spa in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Featured front and center is Caroline Blessing, the young wife of a recently elected congressman and her overpowering mother, Hilda Finch. Two weeks earlier, Caroline's father, Hamlin Finch died due to throat cancer no doubt because of all the angry words trapped in his throat to Caroline's thinking. Hilda is a real piece of work and always gets her way by any means possible. Hilda has strongly insisted that she come to the Spa with her and Caroline, full of resentment, has done as she asked. Hilda knows the owner, Claudia de Vries from their first year at Brown University and their relationship is clearly not the best.

    Soon after introducing a number of characters, the Spa owner is found dead in a mud bath and clearly a victim of strangulation. Detective Vince Toscana, far from his beloved home in Philadelphia, is called to investigate and soon finds the fellow guests are less than helpful. Almost all of them have secrets and as rich, important people simply can't be bothered with a little problem of murder in their midst. What follows is a Colombo style movie of the week literary version with homage to Agatha Christie as the bodies begin to fall and his investigation seems to go nowhere. Caroline is forced to help against her wishes and uncovers more about her life and her past than she ever wanted to know.

    Overall, this is a well-written novel and it flows from start to finish. There is the occasional glitch as one author or another takes a character off on a different tangent, but overall this book works surprisingly well. The glitches are very minor and if anything, seem to add to the work and to remind the reader that this was a serial novel in the tradition of Naked Came the Manatee and Naked Came The Stranger. If you are looking for a work that symbolizes each author's unique writing style then this novel is not for you. But if you are interested in seeing how thirteen literary voices could be blended into one style, you won't be disappointed. A bit melodramatic at times, this is still one very good read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Prepare to laugh and be amazed by the mystery's ingenuity
    As a mystery lover, I laughed and marveled at this serial mystery because I could never predict what would happen page to page or chapter to chapter. Each author takes a turn at one chapter, and it's clear they enjoyed the characters and their opportunity to twist and turn the plot in many directions. The climax is clever and unexpected, but the real payoff is the unique style each author brings to her chapter. Kudos to Marcia Talley for bringing this wonderful group of authors together in one novel! ... Read more

    10. Breach of Promise (Bookcassette(r) Edition)
    by Perri O'Shaughnessy, Laural Merlington
    list price: $28.95
    our price: $28.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1567400663
    Catlog: Book (1998-07-01)
    Publisher: Bookcassette
    Sales Rank: 937763
    Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    New York Times bestselling author Perri O'Shaughnessy has won the acclaim of critics nationwide for her complex, suspenseful legal thrillers that feature one of the most interesting heroines in legal suspense fiction today.Nina Reilly is a tough, tenderhearted, and unpredictable Lake Tahoe attorney with a one-woman practice, a young son, a genuine sense of humor, and an interesting love life.Now, in Breach of Promise, Nina takes on the biggest case of her career, a high-profile, high-stakes palimony suit that could make her millions or ruin her financially.Little does she suspect that it will place her dead center in a bizarre and perplexing murder investigation.

    At glitzy Lake Tahoe, couples break up every day, but none quite so glamorous or successful as Lindy and Mike Markov.The scenario starts off in the standard way: Mike's met a younger woman and wants out.The problem? Mike and Lindy built a $200-million business together and Mike claims he doesn't owe Lindy a dime since they never married.

    Ready to fight, Lindy hires Nina Reilly to represent her in her palimony suit.Lacking the resources to handle a case with stakes this high, Nina hires an expert litigator in palimony law, who in turn brings in a jury consultant to ensure that the makeup of the jury is to their advantage.Now Nina's working with a desperate, unstable client and slick big-city legal professionals on the kind of case--full of passion, raw emotion, and explosive secrets--that could make a fortune for a struggling lawyer.Or drive someone to commit a shocking murder--for love, money. . . or the right verdict.

    With all of the storytelling power, authentic legal detail, and insight into the dark recesses of the human heart that have made her the hottest woman writer of legal thrillers, Perri O'Shaughnessy takes readers into the courtroom and far beyond it in her latest masterpiece of legal suspense. ... Read more

    Reviews (27)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best Perri O'Shaughnessy yet!
    When intrepid Tahoe lawyer Nina Reilly takes on a palimony suit, even she cannot imagine the twists and turns that may well determine both her own Fate and that of her client, Lindy Markov. With the prospect of netting huge profits warring against her fierce sense of morality, Nina faces an uphill battle against her arch-rival - defense attorney, Jeffrey Riesner - in a case that could literally make or break her.

    A page-turner from start to finish, BREACH OF PROMISE shines as O'Shaughnessy's best mystery to date. As in the three earlier novels, O'Shaughnessy skillfully weaves together a fast-paced, multi-layered plot that never feels forced or contrived. With enough intrigue and surprise to keep any reader guessing, BREACH OF PROMISE cuts to the heart of the basic dichotomy between men and women without bogging down in sentiment or cliché.

    Surrounded by a fascinating cast of characters, all wonderfully distinctive and deftly drawn, Nina Reilly remains refreshingly appealing and real. Both tough and vulnerable, she soldiers on through triumph and adversity alike without ever surrendering her values to expedience. And her droll self-deprecations, her wariness of commitment, and her insecurities about parenthood only render her all the more endearing.

    A wonderful story and a compelling mystery, BREACH OF PROMISE should be on everyone's summer reading list.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great, fast paced read!
    As a first time reader of Nina O'Reilly, I had a hard time putting this book down. Also, as a former resident and casino worker in Lake Tahoe I enjoyed the references to real places. I found her characters to be well-written and while I didn't like them all, I felt that I knew them personally. The story and plot lines were interesting, and I didn't figure out whodunit until the end. I intend to go back and read the previous Nina O'Reilly books now!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Wrong, wrong, wrong
    This book is wrong in almost everything it says, for example:
    In the trial of Mike and Lindy the jury SUPPOSE that Lindy lie when she said that she wanted to marry with Mike, but Nina proof that mike made perjury in middle of the process, and all the jury were against Lindy because she is a liar.
    The jury waste three days to take a decision, and then happened a "little" problem and when the judge make another jury they have their decision in three hours.
    The worst of all the book, Paul, the boyfriend of Nina, he attacks her on the judgment, when the judgment ends, Paul investigates what happened with that "little" problem in the jury and he knows that if he does that Nina will lose everything she has, why he did that?
    At the end of the book, what happened to Mike and Lindy is pathetic, but that Nina still loves Paul even if he left her is more than pathetic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best ever in the series.
    This was my favorite book by Oshaughnessy. A great story. Loved the climax. A wonderfully well executed story. Don't miss your chance to read this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Whew!
    I just finished "Breach of Promise," and I am literally breathless. What a ride!

    The story begins fairly routinely, as Nina Reilly is hired to represent an incredibly wealthy woman, Lindy Markov, in a palimony suit. Knowing that such suits are notorious losers, but intrigued by the circumstances of the case--and by the money--Nina agrees to defend Lindy, and immediately finds herself in over her head.

    In order to compete in such a visible, high-stakes trial, Nina is forced to compromise some of her deeply held values, and to hire a fancy LA jury consultant, the obnoxiously confident Genevieve Suchat. She also hires an equally fancy co-counsel, high-profile LA lawyer Winston Reynolds. When (or if) they win their case, all three stand to become multimillionaires. But in the meanwhile, small-town lawyer Nina is footing the bill and running close to bankruptcy.

    The pretrial proceedings proceed apace, except that Nina is not in control, and not happy with everything her glossy compatriots are doing. She knows she needs Winston and Genevieve both--but she's not happy about it. Once the trial starts, Nina struggles to keep her sense of balance while trying to keep up not only with her new coworkers--but with Lindy Markov herself, who seems to be prone to lies and subterfuge, all of which emerge as scandalous surprises in court.

    Nina is in too far to back down, especially as her opposing counsel is the feociously obnoxious and self-satisfied Jeff Reisner, who delights in any humiliation he can throw her way. Even Nina's lover and confidante Paul is becoming difficult, as he sees what he considers to be an erosion of Nina's usual values. It looks like Nina is about to lose the trial, her reputation, her lover, and all her money.

    That's when a completely unforeseen twist changes the fortunes of everyone involved. And the spiraling, out-of-control incidents that follow this surprise continue to proliferate until the last sentence of the last page, leaving the reader literally gasping for air.

    This is truly a five-star read. I'd give it ten stars if I could. You want a book you can't put down? A book that will keep you happily oblivious to your immediate surroundings and your normal life? "Breach of Promise" is definitely it. ... Read more

    11. Obstruction of Justice (Bookcassette(r) Edition)
    by Perri O'Shaughnessy
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $25.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1561007749
    Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
    Publisher: Bookcassette
    Sales Rank: 963053
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Lightning strikes twice.

    Two people have died in Lake Tahoe in shocking accidents.In a nearly empty parking lot, a hit-and-run driver kills probation officer Anna Meade Hallowell.High up on a jagged mountain, wife abuser Ray de Beers gets what he deserves: he's struck by lightning.Attorney Nina Reilly, hiking on a rare day off from her one-woman law practice, sees him die.So does her date, Tahoe deputy DA Collier Hallowell.Still shaken from his wife's violent death, Hallowell is hit hard by the accident.It's a bad end to a first date...and the start of a case that will test Nina's ethics and her heart.

    Nina is certain de Beers's death is an act of God.But his aging father wants to exhume the body to rule out foul play.De Beers's frantic wife and teenage twins hire Nina to stop the disinterment.What gets unearthed are secrets that raise new questions about Anna Hallowell's death, an indictment against one twin for murder, and a damning piece of evidence that can convict the boy ...unless Nina obstructs justice by hiding it.No good lawyer will take that kind of risk.But a brilliant lawyer, one with a passion for truth, just might .... ... Read more

    Reviews (20)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nina Reilly Is a Treasure!
    Since this is the first Nina Reilly book I picked up, I have absolutely no complaints. I literally stumbled upon this book on a friend's bookcase, casually opened it up, and almost literally didn't put it down again until I had read the very last page.

    My only question is: Where have I been? Why had I not heard of this wonderful series, and its equally wonderful authors, sisters Mary and Pamela ("Perri") O'Shaugnessy? If this is, as some of the reviewers say, the "weakest" in the series, will I survive the strongest?

    The story takes place in scenic Lake Tahoe, where sleazy casinos vie with gorgeous mountains and stately pines for attention. The night are dark and starry, and the days...well it depends who you are. For struggling attorney Nina Reilly, who is living with her brother and sister-in-law when the book begins, the days are full of crime and conspiracy. So she decides to hike a nearby mountain with a man who interests her: deputy DA Collier Hallowell. Collier is still mourning his wife, killed a few years earlier by a hit-and-run driver who was never found. Nina has some vague idea of bringing him into the world of the living.

    But before that can happen, the two encounter a family that puts the word "dysfunctional" to shame. It consists of blustering Ray DeBeers, given to abusive language, his fearful wife Sarah, his gorgeous twins Jason and Molly, and a family friend. A storm comes up, Ray is hit by lightening and killed--and the action begins, not to stop until the very last word of the very last sentence.

    Was Ray's death really an accident? Is his death somehow connected with the death of Hallowell's wife? And what of the mysterious, ethereal artist Kim Voss, she of the indoor cactus garden? Add in a genuine grave-robbing, a mysterious gardeners, stolen cars, people who won't talk, people who talk too much, and a brilliant teen who may or may not be connected to the DeBeers family, and the action is fast and furious. Nina, her sidekick and sometime lover, PI Paul van Wagoner, Hallowell himself, Nina's Native American secretary and a host of lesser characters try to solve a mystery that simply compounds upon itself like a cancerous cell. In the end, nobody is untouched or unhurt by the actions that unwind at dizzying speed.

    I loved this book so much, I purchased everything else in the series I could get my hands on. Now my problem is: Do I go back to the beginning, and patiently catch up? Or do I read the next book in the series (whose teaser appears at the end of the paperback version), "Breach of Promise"? Stay tuned. This is one reviewer who is totally, happily, hooked.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Stretch Of An Ending
    Obstruction of Justice is the third book in this series by Perry O'shaughnessy. In this book, Nina Reilly and DA Collier Hallowell go on a date hiking. First of all the date was a little weird, considering in the last book Nina and Paul had something going on. Anyway, while on their hike they witness Ray de Beer's death from a lighting crash. The death brings back old memories for Collier of his deceased wife Anna, who was killed in a hit and run accident. Collier hires Paul to try and find clues from Anna's death. In the meantime, Ray de Beer's son, Jason is indicted for murder, and Nina is defending him. As Paul and Nina find out, Anna Hallowell's and Ray de Beer's death are more related that one might think. Obstruction of Justice fits right in with the previous two books in this series, as all are hard to put down, and are great reads. In this book, the only problem I had was that the ending was a stretch and quite unbelievable. Other than that, Obstruction of Justice, is another winner from the O'Shaughnessy's.

    3-0 out of 5 stars not the best in the series
    I've read most of the Nina Reilly series, and this one is my least favorite. It took a while for things to really get rolling, and there were a few too many coincidences for the plot to be believable.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Obstruction to success
    I was looking forward to reading this book and the other ones from the same author, but unfortunately, I found it difficult to stick to the book, and found it a shame to have all those useless sexual descriptions that had nothing to do with the case. I am a collector of murder cases and thriller books so it really is rare for me to criticize one of those books but this one didn't catch my attention enough. What misses is some kind of magical touch that some other authors have such as Higgins clark, kelman, rendell (this of course is only my opinion).

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good, Depending on What you Want
    Entertaining, yes. Believable... well, uh, perhaps this is better left unsaid. There's just something beyond the pale in the predicament in this novel, which remains highly entertaining nonetheless. Its characters are likeable, the plot straightforward, and the issues interesting. This book is a good beach read or poolside froth, but for the readers committed to stories of simmering, complex motivations and labor-intensive research reeking of literary significance, this book is a bit too pop for you. ... Read more

    12. The Unexpected Guest
    by Charles Osborne, Agatha Christie, Alexandra Thomas
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $24.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1559353236
    Catlog: Book (1999-08-01)
    Publisher: Soundelux Audio Publishing
    Sales Rank: 996432
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In the middle of the night in rural Scotland, Michael Starkwedder has run his car into a ditch and must go to the nearest house to seek help.Downstairs in this house, he discovers a murdered man in a wheelchair and a woman holding a recently fired gun. But what seems obvious isn't and the story that unfolds is classic Christie--a tangled web of lies and cover-up, where nothing can be taken at face value, and the murderer and motive is the greatest mystery of all.A successful play originally written in 1958, The Unexpected Guest, now adapted as a novel, returns to spellbind and delight us all. ... Read more

    Reviews (27)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Agatha Christie: The Unexpected Delight
    When I first read a novel adaptation of an Agatha Christie play titled 'Black Coffee' I was in awe of the story and twitsed plot of it all. I knew that the follow up, 'The Unexpected Guest' was going to be a killer book. One of the best mysteries I have read! There is a reason why Agatha Christie has been repsonsible for the sales of over 2 billion books, they are just so damn good! I very much enjoyed this book, as you will too. The ending is the added bonus! You never knew, you just never knew!

    5-0 out of 5 stars I would give this 4 and 3/4 stars if I could
    Even though I am 13 years of age, I have read about three-quarters of the books Agatha Christie has written. Most of the books I have read by her I found to be flawless and exciting. I am a devoted fan of her books and refuse to read other murder-mysteries. When I found out there was a "new" Agatha Christie book out I went straight to the shops to buy it. I found the book to be very enjoyable and even though it only took me 24 hours to read it (I couldn't put it down and stayed up 'till the early hours of the morning to read it until I got caught and had to go to sleep) I thought it was excellent. I usually find that the beginning of Agatha Christie books are a bit confusing but this was one of the least. The murder in the book is a masked mystery until the sureness is proved wrong. I found the book didn't have much suspense but I don't think it mattered. Charles Osborne writes very much like Agatha Christie and he even added things that Agatha Christie didn't usually add like a map of the room the murder occured in. For all people who read and liked The Murder of Roger Ackroyd this book is an absolute must.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of my All-Time Favorites
    This one's a classic Christie. My favorite Christie books are non-Poiroit's and non-Miss Marples' (like this one).
    It all starts when a man has his car stuck in a ditch in the middle of the night. He stumbles into a house looking for help and knocks on the window. No one answers so he comes in (he finds the door open.) He goes downstairs until he sees a man in a wheelchair. When the old man doesn't respond, the protagonist (I forgot his name) assumes he is asleep, until he sees blood and turns around to find a woman with a revolver in her hand. She does not lie, instead she just admits what she has done. The main character does not call the cops, but decides he wants to help the charming young woman. Together, they make false evidence pointing towards a man whose son was once killed by the victim. We are soon introduced to many other characters, and that's when the detective and sergeant are introduced. I kept guessing until the end, when one of the characters, the mentaly disabled one shoots the cop, and so I thought that he was the killer and that was it. But I read on and there was a mind-shattering twist, and the ending is simply the best one out of the many, many Agatha Christie books I have read so far. YOU WON"T BELIEVE IT!!!
    I strongly recommend this book to anyone-children or adults.
    You'll love it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars An OK Book
    I love reading Agatha Christie's mystery books, but when I read this one it didn't seem very good. I thought that it was more predictable than her other books.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Unexpected Guest
    The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie is a considerably good book. Overall, I enjoyed reading it. The tale is of a young women who kills her husband. Just as she is about to confess, an unexpected guest arrives and tries to get her out of her situation. The whole story is about how the two plan to fool the police into not suspecting the young woman. The story has a few twists and turns along the way that are not expected. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery.
    ~Jenny ... Read more

    13. Unfit to Practice
    by Perri O'Shaughnessy
    list price: $34.95
    our price: $23.07
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1590861027
    Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
    Publisher: Brilliance Audio
    Sales Rank: 758612
    Average Customer Review: 3.17 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    It’s the moment every attorney fears careless moment that threatens careers, reputations, lives. For Nina Reilly, it will change everything--and ignite a case where her own clients are witnesses against her...and where the defendant is Nina herself.

    As an attorney championing desperate people, Nina Reilly has skirted the edges of legal ethics in pursuit of a just result, but she has never before broken the rule of absolute protection of her clients’ secrets. One September night in Lake Tahoe when her unlocked truck is stolen, her life changes forever. Gone are her most sensitive case files, complete with the sometimes brutally candid notes she took while interviewing her clients.

    It’s every attorney’s nightmare. And now the worst has happened: The secrets are being revealed, one by one, in ways that will cause the greatest harm. Nina’s own clients complain to the State Bar of California, and suddenly Nina is fighting for her license and her livelihood in a legal proceeding that may ultimately lead her to disbarment. In desperation, Nina turns to her ex-husband, celebrated San Francisco lawyer Jack McIntyre, to represent her.

    And as personal tensions erupt between McIntyre and Nina’s sometime boyfriend, private investigator Paul van reputations are ruined and people begin to die...a chilling pattern of rage and revenge comes into focus. Someone is bent on destroying the lives of Nina’s clients and, in the process, Nina Reilly.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (24)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre 8th entry in Nina Reilly series lacks suspense
    Sisters Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy, writing as "Perri", have obviously developed a fan base with seven prior defense attorney Nina Reilly stories. Unfortunately for us, this was our first try by the women, and we seem to have been stuck with one of their poorer efforts. The most exciting thing to happen in the plot was Nina's Bronco being stolen, complete with three confidential client files in the back seat. When all three cases suddenly go sour, and lead to a State Bar hearing against Nina, were we supposed to be surprised? Ex-husband Jack, whom, as a lawyer's lawyer, Nina hires to defend her, and current lover Paul, her regular investigator (she's otherwise a one-lawyer shop, with just Sandy as a secretary), bicker the whole book long in a juvenile attempt to attract Nina's attention and compete with each other: wow! The last third of the book is the disbarment hearing -- and guess who wins. Of course Nina comes up heroine as the Bronco thief is discovered, and then, boom, the authors end this 450 page book with more information in the last 4 pages than the whole rest of the book put together.

    We usually enjoy lawyer stories which is what prompted us to try this novel. We were disappointed by the trivial storyline, the complete lack of suspense, and characters who spent most of the time acting like adolescents. Truthfully, we didn't even develop much interest in or sympathy for Nina, who must have avowed her love for the law and her desire to defend the underdog like half a dozen times -- please, we get the drift.

    Maybe some of the other O'Shaughnessy books are more fun, but these authors have a long way to go to approach the likes of Turow or Scottoline. Try them instead.

    Here's a star sister act that plays not at your neighborhood theater but at the local bookstore. To date the sisters O'Shaughnessy, Pamela (a Harvard Law School graduate) and Mary (a former editor), have co-authored seven popular legal thrillers. Two of their fast-paced dramas were "Writ of Execution" and "Malice." Brace yourselves for a suspenseful ride in "Unfit To Practice."

    Facing the worst fear of any attorney, Nina Reilly is looking at a disciplinary hearing before the California State Bar Court and possible disbarment. Lawyer Reilly's unlocked truck, which held pertinent case files and revealing notes she had taken, is stolen. That's not the worst case scenario: soon, information that could only be found in her notes surfaces, and is revealed in ways that are most damaging to her client.

    So, Reilly finds herself before the State Bar in a battle for her license. You can tell she's in dire straits when she turns to her ex-husband to lead her defense. He and her off/on boyfriend PI Paul van Wagoner don't see eye to eye nor do they try.

    Malice becomes murder in this drama that shifts from tension filled courtroom to the secret recesses of a woman's heart.

    - Gail Cooke

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Lawyer's Nightmare
    For the legal thriller addict, Unfit To Practice is an interesting fix. The O'Shaughnessy sisters pen a tale that is entertainingly suspenseful. Nina Reilly, a small town lawyer has her vehicle stolen and with it the files of three of her clients. The sensitive files apparently fall into the wrong hands. The book details the subsequent fallout.

    I found Ms. Reilly's ethical dilemmas realistic. This was the first O'Shaughnessy novel I have read, so I am unable to compare it with previous Reilly reads. Although the story is a bit too touchy-feely for my general liking - one reviewer described the book as a "chick-flip" - and certainly not the best legal thriller I have read, I was entertained and plan on reading another Reilly novel.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Unfit for reading
    Slow moving story ... boring read. Total waste of time. Half-way through the book, I dread myself to finish it. The character in the story (Nina) has not been developed convincingly. Help, anyone wants to buy my copy?

    3-0 out of 5 stars First half good`
    I have read other books by these authors and liked them. This book started out ok but went downhill. The trial was very, very boring and just the first half of the story over again. The ending was just ridiculous. Sometimes when authors are doing a series the books go downhill - maybe they are on deadline. I will stop and think before I buy another book by them. ... Read more

    14. Acts of Malice (Bookcassette(r) Edition)
    by Perri O'Shaughnessy, Laural Merlington
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $26.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1567404421
    Catlog: Book (1999-07-01)
    Publisher: Bookcassette
    Sales Rank: 963052
    Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The New York Times bestselling Nina Reilly novels have dazzled both readers and critics with their crackling blend of legal suspense and taut human drama. Now Perri O'Shaughnessy, hailed as "smart", "gripping", and "complex" by the San Francisco Chronicle, brings us her best--and most explosive--Nina Reilly novel yet.

    Amid the sparkling snow-swept mountains of Lake Tahoe, Nina Reilly has made a home, juggling the demands of her one-woman law practice and raising a teenage son alone. Now Nina has taken on a case that will threaten everything she holds dear, drawing her into a tangled web of loyalties and alliances within one of Lake Tahoe's most prominent families. Her client: a man accused of murdering his own brother--on the ski slopes of Tahoe. The law says Nina must give Jim Strong the best possible defense. But Strong's family has turned violently against him, and suddenly Nina is at the center of the storm. As she works a flawed and troubling case and gets swept into an unexpected love affair, the two sides of Nina's life come crashing the ultimate act of malice.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (44)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unplumbed Depths
    No matter how well-written a mystery, and "Acts of Malice" is very well-written, it is not usual to wrench the reader from interest to warmth to fear to sobs--but this book does all that and more.

    Tahoe lawyer Nina Reilly takes on a case that makes her uneasy from the first, but she doesn't know why. She agrees to defend Jim Strong, a young and handsome champion skier accused of the brutal murder of his equally young and handsome brother, Alex. The brother supposedly died in a skiing accident, but the coroner uncovers what he thinks are signs of horrifically foul play. And the District Attorney's office believes him.

    Nina is soon pitted against the man she was interested in a while back, but who had left Tahoe to mend from a personal tragedy. Assistant DA Collier Hallowell has returned, healed, happy--and eager to renew his budding interest in Nina. As a beautiful and meaningful romance develops between the two, they must somehow keep their personal lives out of their professional milieu, and it isn't easy. Collier is convinced that Jim Strong is a particularly violent and vicious murderer. Nina is ethically bent on defending Strong--but for the first time in her career, she has nagging, secret doubts about her client. And so does the reader.

    Did Jim Strong really stomp his injured brother to death? Is he an evil psychopath, as the prosecution, including Nina's own boyfriend, believes? And if he is, is Nina in danger? Can she ethically drop a client, and even if she could, will she do so?
    As she struggles with these doubts and fears, Nina's feelings for Collier deepen and blossom, so that the reader, like the principals themselves, bounces back and forth between the beauty of human love and the horror of human violence.

    The last third of the book is almost painful in its suspense, as the mystery of who killed Alex and why begins to include Nina's loved ones in its terrifying grasp. "Acts of Malice" is the best of the three Nina Reilly mysteries I have read so far, and truly one of the best I have read by any other author. It has real depth, as deep as the unflagging snow that grasps Tahoe in its icy unreality all through the story. A good metaphor for what can only be called a chilling plot.

    Again, I must strongly praise the O'Shaughnessy sisters, Mary and Pamela ("Perri"), who have shown a depth of brilliance and talent not often seen in this or any other genre.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A ripping good read!
    The O'shaughnessy sisters have done it again in this legal thriller that has more to offer than just court room twist and turns. Lawyer Nina Reilly is represtenting the owner of Tahoe's largest ski resort against the charge of murdering his brother. The story balances Reilly's life between work and personal--raising a 16-year-old son as a single mom and finding time for romance. Well written with good character development, I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good mystery. I just finished another interesting book: "A Tourist in the Yucatan" mystery/thriller.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Fine plot - bad psychology
    I admit: this is a fast reading novel, exciting and full of suspense. And I enjoyed reading it. But there is a major flaw: its psychology. It is not really conceivable that the lawyer of the alleged murderer falls in love with her adversary, the lawyer who represents the prosecution. In the courtroom they fight against each other using more or less unfair methods and tricks. Then they go to bed and do not speak a single word about the case. The characters of the alleged killer's wife and his father - among others - are not credible in their action and motivation either.

    But if you do not mind this, you can read a novel with a fine plot and in addition a well worked out setting that shows more realism than the characters.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Cliche
    It is hard to believe anyone would publish such poorly written works. The characters are one-dimensional cliches, the plot thin and predictable. A total waste of money.

    5-0 out of 5 stars FEISTY, FIGHTIN', FEUDIN', FUN AND FAMILY
    With a Perri O'Shaughnessy novel, one can rest assured that two heads are definitely better than one!
    The Nina Reilly Series introduces the reader to Nina Reilly, the new kid on the block just trying to survive, not only in her chosen profession of the law, but in her family life as well. Throughout the novel Nina's experiences are believable, complicated and life altering. I totally enjoy all the characters in the book lending support to Nina and one in particular, Nina's -- more than just a secretary - Sandy - who somehow seems to help Nina keep afloat.
    Additionally, the series shows compassionate writing with a closeness for family and friends.
    Repeat characters are a favorite read for me and when I pick up one of the Nina Reilly series, it's like have old friends in the house, a little older and a little wiser with each book and each situation but the same dedication and loyalty. The authors have a a true knack for realistic story telling and realistic conclusions.
    I thank the authors. ... Read more

    15. Casual Affairs
    by Lillian O'Donnell
    list price: $16.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0399131000
    Catlog: Book (1985-11-01)
    Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T)
    Sales Rank: 380075
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    16. The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie: A Biographical Companion to the Works of Agatha Christie
    by Charles Osborne
    list price: $25.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312281307
    Catlog: Book (2001-06-01)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 722417
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Agatha Christie wrote over 100 plays, short story collections, and novels, which have been translated into 103 languages, and she has been outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare.No one has succeeded in copying her, though many have tried, and she remains the best selling modern writer throughout the world.

    For all her success and renown, however, Agatha Christie was a very private person. Over the years, many have attempted to capture her personality, her motivations, and the reasons for her enduring popularity, with little notable success. Now Charles Osborne, a lifelong student of Agatha Christie, has undertaken an examination of Christie and her accomplishments through her own work.

    The result is a comprehensive, illustrated guide to the world of Agatha Christie, featuring authoritative information on each book's provenance and on it's contemporary critical reception set against the background of the major events in the author's life.Illustrated with rarely seen photos and updated to include details of the publications, films and TV adaptations of her writings, this book provides fascinating reading for any Christie aficionado. ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars complete overview of Agatha Christie's works
    I've had this book for a few months now and am continuously referring back to it. This is a perfect book to have on hand while reading her collection of books. Charles Osbourne presents an overview of Agatha Christie's life and works his way chronologically through each book she wrote with new insights into the storylines and other happening in her life at the time of her writing the book. Mr. Osbourne does not reveal too much, so it is safe to read his accounts before reading her books.

    This is a perfect companion book to her works.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Crimes of Charles Osborne
    Osborne's thoroughness in cataloging Dame Agatha's eighty-plus re-titled, repackaged, and republished books and 147 stories in their myriad and varied collections is admirable. That alone makes this book worth buying, but his literary criticism detracts from a complete enjoyment of what is otherwise a pretty good read.

    Throughout, Osborne reveals a tri-fold misunderstanding of the essence of fiction. Despite his own comment, "It is fortunate that fictional chronology can be flexible," he tediously cites examples in which it is not. Also, he assumes that each story should be consistent with the others, and that full explanations should be given for what he considers to be improbable occurrences. Let us consider each of these problems in turn.

    Real Time

    Rarely is fiction intended to occur in real time. Plays, novels or short stories often cover periods from a few hours to a lifetime, or longer. Regardless of the time taken to write or publish a work, it must always stand up on its own. The particular time period that elapses between the appearance of two works does not of itself imply the actual amount of time that the author intended should pass. For example, that Albert should be fifteen years old in Partners in Crime (1929) does not imply that he was only nine in The Secret Adversary (1922) as Osborne suggests (pp. 68-69). That real time is not intended is exemplified further when Miss Marple says in Nemesis (1971) that she met Jason Rafiel (A Caribbean Mystery, 1964), "just over a year ago. In the West Indies." The only chronology upon which we can rely is that provided by the author. We must take each story as a group of events in the characters' lives and avoid forcing our own sense of time on them.

    Consistency and continuity

    That Dame Agatha has given us clues to the actual whereabouts of her stories should be seen as remarkable, if not extraordinary. Fiction, after all, is constructed from the imaginings of the author. Unless we have been given clear evidence to the contrary, we must always assume that the people and places are made up. Because some authors appear to be more consistent from one story to another does not mean that all novelists must be. Fiction is fiction. It only has to be believable; it does not have to be true. Science fiction depends on this premise.

    Of the apparent inconsistencies, Randall Toye (1980), author of The Agatha Christie Who's Who, graciously concedes that these caprices are "one more mystery for the readers of Agatha Christie to solve, a mystery for which you will have to rely on your own 'little grey cells.'"


    Osborne levies a number of criticisms at the plots themselves. In his entry for Sparkling Cyanide (p. 211), for example, he scoffs at the idea that a group of guests could leave a table, forget where they sat, and then re-seat themselves on the basis of the location of a purse. Perhaps in his own sterile study, this scenario seems implausible. However, it would be easy to become confused when everyone had left a large round table simultaneously and then tried, without such a landmark, to return to his or her own chair. Although it might feel a little awkward, in a low-lit room, after some drinks and dancing, a purse could be the only thing to indicate where people had sat earlier. Doubtless, Dame Agatha actually observed this confusion on some occasion.

    In Dead Man's Folly, Osborne (p. 281) doubts that someone could change his appearance so as to become unrecognizable just by growing a beard, but, the narrative is quite clear - most of those who would have recognized him had moved away. Not only that, but war changes people - sometimes quite dramatically - literally aging their appearance by more years than the duration of the conflict. Noncombatants will never understand how war can change someone. More than that, we often see what we expect to see. If having been told that someone was killed during the war, why shouldn't we believe it? Indeed, a full beard would cover the most recognizable features of a man's face.

    Improbables do not demand explanations. Just because a situation seems improbable to us, doesn't mean that it is. The available facts may not be all of the facts. Even when Dame Agatha does give us clues, most of us can't identify the murderer; and her alleged peccadilloes have done nothing to dissuade readers from buying hundreds of millions of her books.

    Osborne's writing style

    This review would be incomplete if it failed to mention Osborne's own struggle with words: split infinitives, the odd incomplete sentence, and excessively long constructions. Here is one example of the latter: "After some months, Agatha decided to join her husband in London where, after living briefly in service flats, first in Half Moon Street and then in Park Place, 'with noisy sessions of bombs going off all around,' they were about to move into their house in Sheffield Terrace, the people to whom they had rented it having asked if they could be allowed to relinquish the lease, as they wished to leave London" (p. 180).


    A more complete table of contents would have been helpful so that entries about specific works could have been found easily. As it is, one has to look up the publication date at the back, and then search for it in the relevant section. Overall, the reader should use this book for reference only and ignore the rest of it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A must read for Christie Fans
    THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF AGATHA CHRISTIE is a delightful look at the great author through her vast novels, plays, and short stories. The well-written reference book is structured around major events in Ms. Christie's life, but seen through the works that are published at that time. Charles Osborne keeps the tome fresh with intriguing explanations on various topics such as titles. For instance the "final" title of THEN THERE WERE NONE reflects social trends and political correctness over the decades in England and America, and to a lesser degree France. Fans of Ms. Christie will find this work quite fascinating, but so will most mystery buffs as well as historiographers.

    Harriet Klausner

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good biography and companion book
    I enjoyed this book. It had some third person insights that her autobiography could not contain. It also had many quotes from her husbands autobiography than rounded out her life's story nicely. It is somewhat repetitive for those of us who have already read all of her books and her life story, but Charles Osbourn did manage to give me some further insights into her work. This work includes not only her life story, but also a lot of information about her books. It does NOT include how any of her books end, lest it ruin any of her books for any of the readers who have not read all of her works. This would be a fine addition to any Agatha Christie library. ... Read more

    17. When the Fax Lady Sings : A Molly Masters Mystery (Molly Masters Mysteries)
    list price: $6.50
    our price: $6.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0449005682
    Catlog: Book (2001-04-03)
    Publisher: Fawcett
    Sales Rank: 180137
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Dress rehearsal for the PTA fundraiser is at its chaotic peak when one of the seven identical clowns cavorting on stage pulls out a gun and shoots the director, Corrinne Buldock. Molly Masters, also dressed as a clown, is a stunned and baffled witness to the killing. She wonders: which of her fellow performers, all of them respectable parents and teachers, can conceivably be a murderer?

    The rumor is that Corrinne and her old boyfriend split up . . . and that she had just confessed to a sexual involvement with a student. Soon Molly knows more dirty little school secrets than she would care to–and more than enough to send a desperate killer back into action. . . .
    ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    3-0 out of 5 stars So-So Series
    Now that I've finished the series, I'm disappointed it wasn't as promising as the first book, but not nearly as bad as the second.

    Molly is just plain unlikable. She's nosy and annoying, and it's a wonder Tommy hasn't just thrown her in jail already. There's no reason whatsoever for her to be sticking her nose into these murders and putting herself into dangerous situations, and the author's done a terrible job at showing us her motivation for doing so. Instead she's just made her come off as simply meddlesome and stupid.

    Also, for a series, it's disappointing that the secondary characters haven't been more developed. In the six years the series has spanned, we barely know her best friend Lauren. Jim is just kind of there. And with all they've been through, you'd think by now Stephanie could've been softened just a bit and made a bit more human, instead of continuing to be such an overblown adversary.

    Ms. O'Kane has good potential for a well-written series, but she really needs to work on character development. Oh, and she needs to cut her use of the word "trot" -- no one "trots" around as much as Molly and her friends and family do.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A humeous amateur sleuth mystery
    At Carlton Central School parents like Molly Masters participate in a fund-raiser. Molly and six other people are going to dress as clowns, disrupting a beautiful woman singing a torch song as one of the festivities to raise money. At the dress rehearsal, the clowns wait in the wings for a magician to finish his act when one of them shoots and kills Corrine, a high schoolteacher.

    Molly, an eyewitness to the event, is the only clown not under suspicion because someone can state where she was during the shooting. Molly learns that several of the suspects have motives to want the teacher dead including a former lover and the mother of the student she was having an affair with despite the rules. Having solved homicides in the past, Molly decides to do her own brand of investigating that places her in jeopardy from an individual who wants the killer's identity to remain anonymously hidden behind greasepaint.

    In Leslie O'Kane's fictionalized school, the parents and the administration seem more dangerous than the students are as violence permeates the system. While not realistic, it allows for escapism from the real world. WHEN THE FAX LADY SINGS is an intriguing novel that is characterized by Ms. O'Kane's distinct style of humor.

    Harriet Klausner ... Read more

    18. Cop Without a Shield
    by Lillian O'Donnell
    list price: $13.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0399128727
    Catlog: Book (1983-11-01)
    Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T)
    Sales Rank: 379771
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    19. A Good Night to Kill
    by Lillian O'Donnell
    list price: $17.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0399134034
    Catlog: Book (1989-01-01)
    Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T)
    Sales Rank: 380306
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    20. Move to Strike
    by Perri O'Shaughnessy, Laural Merlington
    list price: $32.95
    our price: $32.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1567403565
    Catlog: Book (2000-07-01)
    Publisher: Brilliance Audio Unabridged
    Sales Rank: 940349
    Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    New York Times bestselling author Perri O'Shaughnessy takes the courtroom thriller to breathtaking new heights in Move to Strike, a page-turning masterpiece of suspense that brings back attorney Nina Reilly, hailed by critics as "one of the most interesting heroines in legal thrillers today" (San Jose Mercury News).

    Nina Reilly thought she'd seen it all. An attorney and single mother, Nina isn't afraid to tackle the toughest cases and trickiest defenses. But she is wholly unprepared for her latest client -- sixteen-year-old Nicole Zack, rebel, thief, and best friend of Nina's teenage son, Bob.

    Did Nikki steal something from her uncle, a prominent plastic surgeon, then kill him in cold blood? To find out, Nina calls in Paul van Wagoner, a P.I. and ex-lover whose bravado conceals a troubling personal secret.

    As Paul investigates the eerily coincidental death of the surgeon's son -- killed in a plane crash the same night his father was murdered -- Nina sorts through the twisting lies surrounding Nikki, uncovering a seething mystery, some enraged former patients, and two very old crimes.

    Finally, Nina must confront the central question she must answer in order to save her client: What did Nikki really see the night of her uncle's murder?
    ... Read more

    Reviews (29)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another best-seller!
    In my community, among us avid mystery readers, the release of the the "latest" book in Perri O'Shaughnessy's Nina Reilly series is an eagerly anticipated event. This annual reunion with Nina Reilly, Paul van Wagoner, Sandy Whitefeather, Bob Reilly and Nina's brother, Matt, and sister-in-law, Andrea, is much like spending time with "old friends" and catching up on their latest trials, tribulations and exploits. Even so, this sixth book, MOVE TO STRIKE, is far more than a welcome visit with people we've come to know and love. It's a fast-moving story shot through with action, suspense and psychological turmoil.

    Nikki Zack may have murdered her uncle, Bill Sykes; she may have caused a plane crash that killed two people; and she may be mixed up in a mysterious mining claim. But when Nina Reilly's son, Bob, insists his friend, Nikki, is innocent, intrepid defense attorney, Nina, takes on Nikki's problem-ridden defense.

    Masterful both at making minor characters memorable and major characters unforgettable, O'Shaughnessy brilliantly draws the reader into Nikki Zack's nightmare by making this stubborn, smart-alecky and rebellious teenager both likable and sympathetic and then spices up an already delicious plot by mixing in Paul van Wagoner's struggle to deal with his prior act of vigilantism. A satisfying "read" that's sure to please both long-time devotees and newcomers alike, MOVE TO STRIKE is yet another tour de force that will undoubtedly insure Perri O'Shaughnessy's preeminence among today's mystery writers.

    4-0 out of 5 stars High octane courtoom-mystery drama
    Move to Strike is my first introduction to lawyer attorney Nina Fox Reilly in the acclaimed mystery-courtroom Reilly series - and it's wonder that Perri O' Shaughnessy garnered raves for their thrillers. In its more adventurous sixth outing, Nina is engaged by his son Bob to defend his friend sixteen year old Nicole Zack who is suspected of murdering his uncle Bill. The usual suspects come centerstage with Nicole's mother Daria who is conned by Bill to sell him the piece of Nevada land that is worth millions. His plastic surgery career has also earned him enemies where a deranged woman is bent on getting revenge for a nose surgery done to her daughter. What about his wife who still mourns over the loss of their son Chris in air-plane crash? Could the death of the son-and-father be coincidental or foul play altogether?

    Detailed with forensic evidence like PCR and DNA, courtoom wits and high tension emotional drama with Nina battling her demons in a past incident that claimed her husband, MOVE TO STRIKE is relentless suspense. There is the romance between Paul, a PI who is struggling with his vigilantism - and all the research on Japanese swords, opals and airplane failures makes this read fuelled with grit and intelligence. The final verdict? It is good enough to rival masters like John Grisham and Michael O' Connelly in its thrills and wits.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Move to Strike
    Its addictive, we can't seem to get enough of the Nina Series. Finaly, Paul was given a more important role, and the author explored those very intriguing and mysterious layers of the most appealing charachter of this series. It was seductive to learn what are Paul's weak spots, he is sooo fascinating. As an additional treat, Sandy, the very verbal but always loyal secretary, allowed us to take a peek at her very private life.
    O'Shaughenessey is a master at what they do because while bring the reader to their web of legal tactics, murder investigations and interesting storylines turn arounds, they build up the relationships among its players.
    Cheers for digging deeper in the personalities of the fabulous charachters in this series.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nina is in top form.
    Perri Oshaughnessy does it again! A taut first rate thriller. A tour de force! The Characters are first rate. Don't miss this one. Well plotted. Undownputable. The best heroine to come along in fiction.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Mystery and More: Another Winner
    If a rip-roaring, fast-paced mystery can be called thoughtful, then "Move to Strike" is just that. On the one hand, we have the story of Nina Reilly's newest case, which is so riveting that it helps pull Nina from a terrible depression (I cannot reveal more without ruining "Acts of Malice," the book previous to this one).

    On the other hand, for the first time in the series, the reader gets to see what makes Paul von Wagoner tick. Paul, as Nina Reilly regulars well know, is her on-again, off-again friend/lover/confidante and just about everything else. An ace private investigator, he helps Nina solve most of her seemingly unsolvable cases. And, whether he cares to admit it or not, he is deeply in love with Nina. At the end of "Acts of Malice," Paul took a step that changed his life irrevocably. In "Move to Strike," he is dealing with the aftermath of that act...and the knowledge that Nina will never love him back. His very real and complicated anguish is laid bare for the reader as we follow his thoughts, join in his nightmares, and sympathize for this very strong man who is at his weakest moment.

    Meanwhile, Nina is struggling to defend a 16-year-old girl, Nikki, who stands accused of brutally murdering her wealthy uncle Bill Sykes, a prominent plastic surgeon in the Tahoe area. WE know that Nikki didn't do it, because WE were there when it happened. But nobody else does...including Nina herself, who is working half on conviction, half on pure hunch. The slimy district attorney, an old foe, is hell-bent on trying Nikki as an adult. And his vicious assistant Barbara, who has old issues with Nina, is helping him gain his way.

    If Nikki didn't kill Uncle Bill, who did? Nina's desperate foray into the case involves Nikki's ultra-ditzy former-showgirl mother, Daria, Daria's sister Beth, who is Bill's widow, an older widow fond of concocting potent "herbal" elixirs, and a band of prospectors right out of the Wild West. Add in a questionable private plane crash and a couple of seemingly unrelated murders, and you have a story that just won't let you breathe until you finish.

    I guessed the murderer toward the end--but once again the O'Shaugnessy sisters pulled one of their effortless plot twists. I may have been right about the murderer--but nothing could have prepared me for the truth of the crime.

    Get this book and devour it! It's another incredibly good winner. ... Read more

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