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Mystery: Alex Delaware    by Jonathan Kellerman order for
by Jonathan Kellerman
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

As Mystery, the 26th in Jonathan Kellerman's deservedly popular Alex Delaware series, opens in LA, the psychologist and Robin head out for a nostalgic drink at the Fauborg Hotel, soon to be demolished in this 'Tissue paper city.' As they arrive, they notice an obvious bodyguard (whom they dub Black Suit) waiting outside. Inside, most guests are mature, the exception 'a young woman in white' continually checking her watch. Of her, Robin observes 'Someone's chanelling Audrey Hepburn.'

The next morning, Alex's best friend, Milo Sturgis ('a gay LAPD homicide lieutenant with inconsistent social skills'), shows up to solicit his help in a new murder investigation - a young woman shot with two different weapons, once directly in the face. Of course you've guessed it - the same Snow White that Alex and Robin observed the night before. In parallel with this developing investigation, Alex is contacted by Gretchen Stengel, once a high end madam. Now dying of cancer, she asks Alex to help her six-year-old son Chad deal with his imminent loss. Gretchen has information on the murder that she shares with the police.

Milo's trail leads to a website,, that matches 'upper-crust sugar daddies and star-quality sweeties'. Seems like the victim was one of the sweeties. There are also leads to Black Suit's identity, to a rehab clinic, and to a very wealthy family - whose head, a registered Sugar Daddy, has been dead for quite a while. What gives? The plot only deepens after it's discovered that the victim called herself Mystery and a second victim is found in this Pygmalion turned tragic.

As always the mystery is solid with its share of surprises, but what brings me back to this series again and again is the engaging banter between Alex and Milo, as well as the author's witty and wise observations of, and commentary on, LA inhabitants and LA lifestyle. Fans will enjoy Mystery just as much as any of the twenty-five previous Alex Delaware offerings.

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