Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Asking for Murder by Roberta Isleib

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Asking for Murder by Roberta Isleib. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Asking for Murder by Roberta Isleib

Asking for Murder by
An Advice Column Mystery with Dr. Rebecca Butterman

Berkley Prime Crime (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-425-22331-0 (0425223310)
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-22331-4 (9780425223314)
Publication Date: September 2008
List Price: $6.99

Review: Psychologist and advice columnist Dr. Rebecca Butterman takes over a friend's practice and the search for her attacker in Asking for Murder, the third mystery in this series by Roberta Isleib.

Rebecca thinks of herself as “shrink, columnist, and girl sleuth”, pretty much in that order. Others might add "risk-taking nut job" to that list. When Rebecca’s closest friend, Dr. Annabelle Hart, a sandbox therapy practitioner, is found brutally beaten in her own office and left there for dead, Rebecca along with the police wants quick answers. Was this a break-in robbery gone badly? Was it a disgruntled patient? No one who knew Annabelle could give any reason for anyone to strike out at her. Much to the consternation of the police, fellow doctors and her ex-husband, Rebecca takes on her facade of “girl sleuth” by beginning to look into Annabelle’s patient files to see if she can come across any clue that would help in the search of the attempted killer. She finds letters of a threatening nature from patients, signed and unsigned. A few of her fellow psychologists have shown disfavor with her unorthodox form of therapy. And then there's her family. Due to the graveness of her condition, Annabelle’s sister, Victoria, is summoned who believes their younger sister, Heather, is responsible for Annabelle’s condition. Before Heather can be located Victoria is murdered while walking to her motel room from the hospital. When Heather is located, she is in an unstable condition, either from her bi-polar condition or possibly from taking drugs. When Rebecca gets close to the answer, her life is endangered. It becomes a battle of wits for Rebecca, to lay blame on the killer and to survive.

Asking for Murder is a delightful story and exhilarating mystery. The characters are well drawn, amiable and engaging, and the author brings a little humor and cynicism into the mysterious world of psychiatry and psychology. The pace of the story is fast and the plot easy to follow (with plenty of twists along the way) -- it will be hard for the reader to put this book down once started.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Asking for Murder and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Synopsis (from the publisher): When Rebecca's friend and fellow therapist Annabelle Hart is found badly beaten and left for dead, Rebecca is determined to help search for answers. But this time, no one wants her help. Not Detective Meigs, who thinks the crime was either a botched robbery or the result of a relationship gone sour. And not Annabelle's sister, who makes it clear that Rebecca isn't welcome in family matters.

The only place where her opinion matters is the therapist's couch. She's agreed to see Annabelle¹s patients, but it won't be easy. Annabelle's area of expertise is sandplay therapy, which Rebecca knows little about -- yet with a would-be killer on the loose, she can only hope the clues are buried within easy reach.

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