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Blue Smoke and Murder    by Elizabeth Lowell order for
Blue Smoke and Murder
by Elizabeth Lowell
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Jill Breck is a whitewater river guide and wilderness expert. On a river trip Jill has saved the life of young Lane Faroe, son of the owner of St. Kilda's Consulting. To repay their gratitude Jill has been extended the services of St. Kilda's should she ever need security and protection.

Jill has recently become the new owner of thirteen unsigned paintings by a famous Western artist, along with family property. Her great aunt, Modesty Breck, has been killed in a suspicious fire. On investigation, evidence proves that someone was searching the ranch before the fire was started. Jill finds a letter written by her great aunt to an art gallery requesting an evaluation on a painting which has now gone missing. Soon Jill finds her car vandalized and the missing painting in shreds, along with a death threat. Now Jill realizes she has to call in the favour of St.Kilda's Consulting.

Zach Balfour is a part time consultant for St.Kilda's, and he has been called away from his vacation to meet with Jill Breck and offer her protection and security from the company. Zach finds a smart, beautiful, and a very self sufficient woman when they meet. He is drawn to Jill immediately. After he listens to her story and hears she has also been shot at, they team up to follow the trail of the missing painting, and to find the true name of the artist. It is believed to be Thomas Dunstan, lover of Jill's grandmother, Justine Breck, but a theory they have uncovered has them questioning this.

Blue Smoke and Murder is a fast paced mystery/romance with plenty of action. An art connoisseur realizes Jill's paintings may affect the price of his work slated for an auction in Las Vegas, and he will stop at nothing to prove them worthless. We are taken into the world of the rich who spend millions on art fraud each year.

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