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Dead-End Job Mystery #14
Elaine Viets

May 3, 2016/ ISBN 978-0451466334
Suspense/Private Investigators

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


PI Helen Hawthorne is hired by Elizabeth Cateman Kingsley to locate a small John Sargent watercolor her father hid in a book long ago, and among others recently given to the Flora Park Library. Elisabeth makes arrangements with the library director, Alexa Stuart Andrews, for Helen to pose as a volunteer, allowing her to secretly search through the boxes of donated books temporarily tucked away in a locked room. The task is complicated by the antagonism from Blair, the head of the Friends of the Library. Alexa believes the lost painting, if found, rightly belongs to Elizabeth; Blair believes the sale of the watercolor should benefit the library.

An added complication to the plot, that I liked, involves the possibility that the library is haunted, but Helen rightly suspects that the evidence Alexa shows her in the bathroom and the food stolen from the refrigerator wasn’t done by a ghost. After all, ghosts don’t eat. Paris, the adorable library cat, leads Helen to discover a young homeless girl concealed in a storeroom, one who claims to have found the watercolor and hidden it in the library. When the girl is later killed by a hit and run driver, Helen’s task of finding the missing painting becomes daunting. Thankfully, Phil, Helen’s husband and PI partner, finishes his case and helps Helen solve hers.

Ms. Viets’ superb writing style brought her characters to life for me. Yes, this is the 14th release in the series, but this reads like a single title. Helen and Phil were lifelike, thoroughly engaging and unforgettable. The outstanding plot hooked me from the very first page and the secondary characters, in my opinion, added to an excellent, enthralling mystery. And best of all worlds, the ending was a satisfying surprise. One of my all-time favorites.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Just Murdered, No 4 [review]
Murder Unleashed, No. 5 [review]
Murder with Reservations, No. 6 [review]
Clubbed to Death, No 7 [review]
Pumped for Murder, No 10 [review 1] [review 2]
Final Sail, No 11 [review]
Board Stiff, No 12 [review]
The Art of Murder, No 14 [review]


Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels.
Reviewed 2016