Wednesday, January 31

All's Well That Ends by Gillian Roberts

Review by Gloria Feit 

I opened Gillian Roberts' new book with conflicting feelings:  Happy anticipation at again entering the world of Amanda Pepper, Philadelphia high school English teacher and investigator-in-training, but dismay at the knowledge that this is the last of the 14 books in the series.

Amanda is asked by her friend, Sasha, to look into the death of her stepmother, whose body Sasha had discovered, her death apparently caused by a lethal combination of alcohol and sleeping pills.  The fact that the woman was dressed for an evening out or at least one entertaining a guest, her outfit complete with 4" stiletto heels, is enough of a reason for her to be convinced it could not have been suicide, and she persuades Amanda to help her prove it.    The stepmother had been married five times--divorced four times, widowed most recently--and had one son, described as worthless and uninterested, his only virtue being that he lived far away from his mother.  But no immediate suspects are apparent.  Amanda's husband, a licensed investiga tor and former homicide cop, now attending grad school, is dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which has devastated the lives of his parents and other relatives, and is not sympathetic to the task.  But then Amanda and Sasha discover a second body, in the same house.  And now the investigation begins in earnest.

The wit, literary allusions and interesting plot make All's Well That Ends among the best of the novels Ms. Roberts has written.  The ending is a satisfying one.  Amanda will be missed, but who knows what new sleuth this author has in store for her many fans? 


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