Warmth, humor and engaging characters are all elements that make Jane Heller's newest tale of skullduggery in the suburbs a true delight to read. If you haven't tried a Jane Heller novel yet, don't miss this one.

A victim of the corporate downsizing craze, cookbook editor Judy Price suddenly finds herself jobless and suffering from boredom and frustration. She is not ready to join the ranks of the country club fossils that abound at The Oaks, an exclusive club where her Wall Street commodities broker husband Hunt has been spending most of his time.

Shortly after Claire Cox manages to break The Oaks' long-standing rule against admitting single women, the noted feminist is found murdered out on the golf course.

Police Detective Tom Cunningham is stymied by the Cox murder. The Oaks is such a closed community he has thus far been unable to turn up any viable leads; then he decides to recruit Judy as a police informant. Thrilled to be working again, Judy dives into her new role with complete abandon.

Hunt stumbles across Judy's police beeper, and fears she is having an affair. Is it too late to save their marriage? At this point, Judy and Hunt had first better try to save their lives as the cunning killer grows more desperate.

(July, 273 pp., $19.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith