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Arsenic and Old Paint: Art Lover's Mysteries    by Hailey Lind Amazon.com order for
Arsenic and Old Paint
by Hailey Lind
Order:  USA  Can
Perseverance Press, 2010 (2010)
Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The pen name of Hailey Lind gets credit for the writing team of Julie Goodson-Lawes, the artist who painted the cover of Arsenic and Old Paint, and her sister Carolyn J. Lawes, an associate professor of history. They make a great team and have now, with this one, published four delightful mysteries featuring ex-forger Annie Kincaid.

Yes. I said ex-forger. Annie has gone straight and now uses her underground connections to locate lost and stolen art. She has the blessing of the FBI's Art Squad.

A murder at an exclusive men's club on Nob Hill is set up to look like a famous painting. Annie's uncle is poisoned by arcine gas, derived from arsenic. Annie is approached by a New Zealander to find a painting missing from that club on Nob Hill. A forgery, at that.

Annie is a delightful character who is able to laugh at herself. Which makes for some fun reading. She also has the grit to ignore her fears and act anyway sometimes to her own detriment. Lind has gathered together a wonderful cast of characters I especially liked the two homeless men. Annie has two hunks interested in her. How to choose. What a dilemma.

Some very interesting and little known facts about San Francisco evolve through Annie's search for the missing forgery. The slave trade of young Chinese girls for one, as well as the underground tunnels below Nob Hill that may or may not exist.

Arsenic and Old Paint is a fun, laugh-out-loud read that moves at a good pace to keep the reader alert. As Oliver said when he held out his bowl, 'More, please.'

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