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Sketch A Falling Star
A Portrait of Crime Mystery, No 3
Sharon Pape

Berkley Prime Crime
March 2012/ 978-0-425-24669-6

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Rory McCain is a licensed PI and runs her own firm with partner Zeke Drummond. As a retired police sketch artist, she's well-schooled in modern day investigative techniques. Zeke brings more old school knowledge to the job; he's a ghost. Zeke was murdered back in the 1800's and Rory inherited his presence along with her late uncle's house.

A flash flood happens when Rory's aunt Helene and her theatre group are sightseeing in Arizona, and one of the troupe dies. While it appears to be a freak accident, it isn't long before Rory is hired by the man's mother to investigate. It seems that Preston Wright, whose real name was Brian Carpenter, had a slew of enemies. It is possible someone murdered him. It's up to Rory and Zeke to figure out what happened, while Rory simultaneously works to find out who killed Zeke so many years ago.

This is the third book in the Portrait of Crime mystery series. It's fine as a stand-alone read, but I have enjoyed the first two books in the series, To Sketch A Thief and Sketch Me If You Can, and feel that the natural progression of the mystery of Zeke's death and of the characters relationships to each other enhanced this book for me.

Pape is a clever author, managing to shift the story from the present to the past almost seamlessly. She writes in such a manner that Rory and Zeke quickly become characters the reader is invested in and care about. The book is action-packed, but not over the top, and there is a good amount of time spent understanding the characters motives. There is quite a bit of humor, a loveable dog named Hobo, and an interesting cast of supporting characters. I started reading this book one night in bed, planning to just read a chapter or three. I finally forced myself to put the book down and get some shut-eye. Waking up just a few hours later, I was drawn to the book again and ended up reading until 3 AM. That is one of the best recommendations I can give any novel. I just HAD to know what happened next.

Fans of mysteries with that paranormal touch will adore this book. Pape writes with just the right voice, setting, and premise. I have a feeling this series will be around for a while so you'll want to read this one for sure, and perhaps catch up by buying the first two books as well. Enjoy! I sure did!

To Sketch a Thief, No 2

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2012