Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Mirror and the Mask: A Jane Lawless Mystery

The Jane Lawless Mystery Series, by Ellen Hart
1. Hallowed Murder 02.13.06
2. Vital Lies (TBR)
3. Stage Fright 02.17.06
4. A Killing Cure 02.28.06
5. A Small Sacrifice 02.28.06
6. Faint Praise 08.19.10 * * * *
7. Robber’s Wine 03.02.06
8. Wicked Games (TBR)
9. Hunting the Witch 03.03.06
10. The Merchant of Venus 03.06.06
11. Immaculate Midnight 03.07.06
12. An Intimate Ghost 03.08.06
13. The Iron Girl 03.17.06
14. Night Vision 02.13.07
15. The Mortal Groove 05.20.08
16. Sweet Poison 08.25.10 * * * *
17. The Mirror and the Mask 08.31.10 * * * *
18. The Cruel Ever After (TBR - Release Date 12.07.10)
(TBR = To Be Read)

The Mirror and the Mask begins on a cold February day, with Jane minding her own business.  Literally, she's at work, dealing with a busted water pipe in one of her restaurants, when a young woman comes in asking for a job.  Annie Archer is in town temporarily looking for her father who disappeared immediately after her mother's death years before.  Jane agrees to give her some temp work, and starts poking into Annie's past to see if she can find the missing father.

Cordelia turns out to be the lucky one who finds him, however.  Turns out Annie's father is a very wealthy business owner in the construction industry, married with two children, and a well-known philanthropist named Jack Bowman.  But something about the whole story feels off to Jane, and when Jack's second wife Susan is found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their home, Jane starts poking a little deeper to see if she can get to the truth.  There is the beginnings of an attraction between Jane and Annie, but Jane is still a little fragile in regards to relationships, and she isn't sure if she can trust Annie with her heart when Annie seems to be less than truthful with several points in her story.

In fact, it turns out that everyone is lying about something, whether it's an affair, an alibi, or their own name.  Both Annie and Jane are searching for answers, but to very different questions.  Who killed Susan?  Did Susan's son Curt finally snap and succeed in killing her (he may have tried once before!) Why did Jack abandon his first family and change his name?

As always, Author Ellen Hart provides plenty of questions, intrigue, and mystery for Jane and the gang to sort out.  This story was a little quieter and not quite as fast-paced as some in the series, and tended to focus more on Annie than on Jane, but all-in-all, a good read.  I gave it 4 stars.  Jane and the gang will be back in the 18th installment of the series titled "The Cruel Ever After" which will be released in just a few months in December 2010.

Next up - I've finally started "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."  People keep telling me that I'll like it, but for some reason I'm feeling some resistance to reading it - I've been avoiding picking it up for days.  But, I've started it, and I'll keep you posted.


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