I love mystery novels. Cozy mystery, mystery suspense, mystery romance, police procedurals of any investigative branch. Sandra Orchard’s character is an investigator in a branch I haven’t thought of since one of my favorite TV shows was taken off the air: White Collar, featuring the FBI’s Art Crime division.
In the wonderfully titled A Fool and His Monet, we’re introduced to Serena Jones and her parents, partner, boss, apartment supervisor—a whole crew of folks who come to life in wonderful ways. Even her cat has a great personality. But my favorite is her aunt, a sleuth wannabe with questionable friends in unusual places.
Even Sandra’s bad guys are well developed to the point that one is amazingly sympathetic and the other takes you totally by surprise. The motive for the crimes, a theft of two paintings and the murders that may be tied to them, is both curious and unique. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that lust and greed aren’t always the reasons behind crime. Sometimes it’s simply I told you so.
Sandra presents a trans-series quest, the unsolved murder of Serena’s grandfather, and a fun twist to the mystery/romance. In this first in the series, we the readers get a vote on who Serena’s love interest will be: Nate, the boy-next-door type who is her apartment supervisor, or Tanner, the tough-guy-swagger type who is her partner.
The novel is chock full of wit, quirky family interactions, and suspense. Sandra Orchard wrote a prize winner. I highly recommend it.