MURDER OF A BARBIE AND KEN
Denise Swanson hits all the right notes in this brisk and witty peek at small-town foibles and foul play. When school psychologist Skye Denison finds perfect married couple Barbie and Ken strangled to death in their own home, she vows to find the killer.
Complications ensue when her boyfriend's dead mother shows up very much alive and in dire need of Skye's guest room. Then two of Skye's brightest students begin digging up dirt on Scumble River's most affluent couples.
As with any good mystery, the action starts early and doesn't let up. Swanson deftly blends Skye's compelling personal issues with town gossip and murder clues. Cleverly plotted, subtle and stylish, this one ends with a brilliant bang. (Nov., 272 pp., $5.99)