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Power Games: A DS Kate Power crime novel    by Judith Cutler order for
Power Games
by Judith Cutler
Order:  USA  Can
Hodder & Stoughton, 2001 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Power Games follows Power on Her Own and Staying Power in a series that combines police procedural and cozy mystery. Kate Power is a young, extremely competent but at the same time vulnerable, Detective Sergeant, on the fast track in her police career. She was transferred to Birmingham (England) after the death of her partner (on and off the job) and, in her rare spare time, has been fixing up a house given to her by her aunt, now in a nursing home.

While the house is in good shape, badly needed work on Kate's garden is delayed by discovery of a trove of antique buttons. At the same time, Kate rescues an old couple's budgie after a truck crashes into their cottage home, her weekly tennis lessons lead to the discovery of a body in the club shower, and she has an arson investigation on her hands. After Kate is transferred to a new elite investigation team, she starts to find links between the three cases, and encounters obstruction from above.

At the center of this series of puzzles is someone who enjoys exercising power, and it brings Kate into danger, up close and personal from an unlikely source. While the author provides a good and unusual puzzle, what I enjoy about the series is its heroine - her domestic difficulties, compassion for the underdog and her budding romances and lasting friendships. While Kate still grieves for her lost Robin, she is attracted to a married superior, who clearly reciprocates. This time she manages to fit a brisk fling with a Gaffer, in between bringing criminals to justice.

If you haven't met Kate Power and her acerbic aunt Cassie yet, they are well worth a few hours of your reading time 133 and the series only gets better.

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