Novelist Maggie Kelly becomes embroiled in another zany murder mystery in the latest installment of Michaels' crafty series. Bernice Toland-James is Maggie's publisher, editor and good friend. So Maggie is justifiably concerned when Bernie calls her claiming she woke up next to the bloody corpse of her estranged husband, Buddy, who has been missing since a boating accident seven years ago.

All the evidence points to Bernie as his killer—she was in an alcoholic stupor the night before and can't remember how Buddy ended up in her bed.

Maggie sets out to find Buddy's real murderer, with the help of two unusual friends: Alex, Viscount Saint Just, and his sidekick, Sterling Balder, characters from Maggie's Regency novels who materialized in her living room one day and now reside in Mrs. Goldblum's apartment across the hall. Alex is Maggie's fantasy man, but even though there's plenty of sexual tension between the two, she's reluctant to get involved with someone who's literally a product of her imagination.

Cleverly drawn characters add levity to the brutality of crime, especially when Sterling is kidnapped by someone who has broken into his apartment. And as Alex charms his way into discovering Buddy's murderer, his relationship with Maggie steals the show and will keep readers eagerly anticipating the next installment in this unique and likeable series. (Aug., 304 pp., $22.00)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick