Padlock Mystery Press - 2001
ISBN: 0966202031 - TPB
Historical/ Cozy

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks,
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Key Deceptions is the first in a cleverly created historical mystery series set during the 15th century Italian Renaissance Period.  The place is Bologna, Italy. The year is 1489. Avisa Boylatoni and Lucia Colascco, the only female locksmiths the Street of Guilds, are the main characters.  Together they attend meetings at the Guild Hall, work their crafts, and solve mysteries. Others who join in the mystery are Avisa’s apprentice and an injured solider.

The Duke and Duchess arrive back in town with some extra company. The Duchess brings with her a poor relation who pursues not a man, but a professional skill for her future. The Duke allows a gentleman, who will cast the perfect bells for Bologna, collect the silver from the people. When the Duke’s best solider is killed and the silver is taken, Avisa’s fear of being sucked into the intrigue of the rulers is brought to life. She and her locksmith skills maybe the only way to protect those she cares most about.

It takes all kinds to make a fascinating sub-genre and Ms. Cooper is doing her part in historical mysteries. I found the historical atmosphere intriguing and simple, and the characters perfectly imperfect, which makes them more believable. As the characters are introduced and settle into their places, I am captivated by the subject matter and settle myself into the fact that this is a winning new series with a very interesting amateur sleuth as lead character. I liked the way the story ended with “and this is just the beginning feeling”. Look for Key Confrontations and Key Confessions coming soon from M.E. Cooper and Padlock Mystery Press.

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