SLEIGHT OF HAND
Curiosity killed the cat, and it almost takes out Dr. Jo Banks. Hathaway twists the past with the present in this cozy and simply plotted mystery. It unfolds slowly, so readers will have to stick with it to get to the meat of the story.
Lured to a secluded farmhouse by the sound of an ancient printing press and outraged by its rude owner, Max,
Jo still feels guilty when he's accidentally injured. But when she offers to take him to the hospital, he pulls out a gun, and she winds up operating on him on a kitchen table, assisted by Max's mentally disabled daughter, Lolly.
Soon Jo learns that Max, a famous magician, has a mysterious past, which includes a stint in prison and a missing wife. The more she tries to help Max and Lolly without the authorities finding out, the more estranged she becomes from friends and co-workers. Meanwhile, police investigate a possible forgery ring and a dead body. While looking into Max's past, Jo winds up on the wrong side of the Philly mob and at odds with her new patient.
(St. Martin's Minotaur, Apr., 272 pp., $23.95)