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Burned in Baltimore    by Louise Titchener order for
Burned in Baltimore
by Louise Titchener
Order:  USA  Can
Hard Shell, 2003 (2003)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Though Louise Titchner's Burned in Baltimore is not her first book (it follows Buried in Baltimore), it is an unveiling to me of her work. The mystery starts off slowly, but gathers momentum quickly to become fast-paced and action packed. Toni Credella is the protagonist in this series of mysteries with a backdrop of Baltimore. A clever new twist has Toni profoundly dyslexic - which produces some difficult stumbling blocks for a student detective / interior decorator.

Toni is renovating a row house on a side street in that Maryland city. Her next door neighbor fosters homeless children - Alice Mae and her motherless nephew Cedric among others. As to be expected, Cedric is a bad boy trying to be good. He's a likable kid and I rooted for him to make it. Alice Mae is haunted by nightmares of previous traumas. She's a pitiful little girl who has seen too much of the rotten side of life at a tender age. I wanted to mother her.

People die frequently around Toni and she seems to suffer a lot of physical damage herself. I like Toni. She's gutsy and independent. She's not fearless but is willing to face her fears. And she shot and killed her abusive policeman husband. Got to give her a few points for that. Toni inadvertently becomes embroiled in art theft, murders, kidnapping, breaking and entering, bodily harm, and encounters with an unforgiving sister.

Enjoy Burned in Baltimore as a good read, quick and satisfying.
Note: The book can be ordered from Hard Shell Word Factory.

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