Till the End of Tom: An Amanda Pepper Mystery
Ballantine, 2004 (2004)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
manda Pepper, Philly Prep teacher and part-time PI in training, is just trying to juggle the demands of her normal existence, thwarted by her friends' and family's excess of enthusiasm for planning her imminent (ten weeks away) wedding to the urbane, ever-rational C. K. Mackenzie. Despite his looming role as groom, C. K. is not very prominent in this episode, being busy with homework (as a criminology grad student).
t opens in Roberts' usual witty manner - '
My mind was on Steinbeck; my foot was on a hand
' - as Mandy escapes Philly Prep's headmaster's droning speech to step on a corpse. Tomas Severin, whom she had never met but who was a wealthy scion of '
one of Philadelphia's finest families
', had inexplicably come to the school to meet Amanda. She wonders why, but has no time to investigate. Fate pulls her in, as always, this time in the form of a client, Penelope Koepple, who works for Severin's elderly mother Ingrid.
t appears that Tomas was given date rape drug ('
') in his take-out tea before falling down the stairs. Was he pushed? Though Mandy dislikes her client, her protective instincts are aroused when one of her star students, Zach Wallenberg, comes under suspicion, and she digs even harder. She unearths a string of Tomas's ex-wives and Ingrid's young lover, all with good reasons to dislike Tomas. At school, she copes with bulimic students and the odd new school secretary. And there's a barrage of wedding decisions waiting every time Mandy turns around.
ackenzie steps in to prove his worth by organizing '
A marriage license to be used like garlic for vampires
' and a most ingenious solution to wedding mania. He and his betrothed solve the killing too, by pulling a skeleton out of the closet, and all ends amicably, as always in this charming cozy series. Don't miss
Till the End of Tom
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