Baron and Goldman offer a bit of everything in this superb novel. There’s humor, infidelity, murder, mayhem, and a neatly drawn conclusion. The secondary characters are varied, and the maturation of Nick and Alex is gratifying.
Nick Anselmo was Alexandra Newborn’s art professor in college — until he spurned her advances, and she dropped out of school. Now he’s her lawn man, whom she nicknames “The Edger” from an implement he uses to trim her lawn. Their reunion is awkward but, as Alex makes welcoming gestures of cookies and lemonade, the homeless Nick begins to leave exquisite drawings at her doorstep. Alex’s husband is a workaholic, and her twin daughters are away at school, so she takes advice from Nick to further her own painting career. Her good intentions backfire after she arranges a showing of Nick’s drawings at a gallery. His sketches bring to light the affair between her husband and the gallery’s owner. When Alex’s husband is murdered later that night, the list of suspects grows. (PETITFOURSANDHOTTAMALES.COM/ MARILYN-BARON, dl $3.99)