Buried In Baltimore
Hard Shell, 2001 (2001)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
itchener has certainly stacked the odds against her protagonist. Toni Credella is a dyslexic interior designer living in the Baltimore slums and short on customers. Four years ago she was tried and acquitted for shooting her abusive police officer husband. Her family have barely forgiven her and her husband's peers have not. If this were not enough, she decides to make a career change to become a private investigator.
oni has (to her conventional sister's horror) given shelter on very cold nights to a homeless old woman named Alice. She hears that Alice has been murdered, soon after she has also learned about the uncovering of a young woman's body, long dead under a pile of bricks in a construction site. Both deaths haunt her, in particular the latter, and she investigates the history of the location in her spare time.
urprisingly Toni tracks down a licensed private investigator willing to take her on and train her, and succeeds in her first tailing job, even though she has no car and must follow this character through the city by bicycle. The pieces of the various puzzles start to fall in place and Toni herself moves into the danger zone.
he author keeps the story interesting by the number and variety of sub-plots - Toni's budding relationships with different men in her life; banter with her sister who's having her own marital difficulties; and encounters with the world of the homeless. The tale moves quickly towards a climax on a construction crane and a conclusion that ties in past history to present violence.
uried in Baltimore
is an intriguing read centered on a unique and appealing heroine; I hope to see a sequel.
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