This one was slightly more fast-paced than its precedent, Plum Pudding Murder, which I can certainly appreciate. So I'd give it an 8/10. I was interested to see what would happen after the cliffhanger in #12- perhaps the introduction of a new character? And a new introduction it was, although it was... cut short. Yep. THE playboy, THE infallible Bradford Ramsey, fell, quite literally. I think what upped my opinion of this particular mystery is that the victim was actually known by Hannah, instead of a fishy businessman or a movie director with whom she doesn't have any connection. It made the investigation more personal.
Bradford Ramsey has arrived in town, and worse, he's hosting the fundraiser that Hannah's partaking in. Encountering him is inevitable. Further than that, she suspects her youngest sister, Michelle, is falling prey to his deceptively charming ways. While Hannah's reeling from Bradford's sudden arrival, she's asked to be Herb's assistant for his magic show AGAIN. (Deja vu, anyone?) That means... the one. The only. Hideous. PURPLE. Dress. (And everyone knows that purple just goes awfully with dark red hair.) Sherri and Perry, the two siblings who are the most talented dancers in Lake Eden, are giving a complimentary performance at the fundraiser- only to be halted by Sherri falling ill from a mysterious illness that Perry and Doc Knight are keeping hush-hush about.
As for the investigation, Stephanie becomes a suspect when Hannah catches her in Bradford's apartment having gotten in with a spare key. A spare key means only one thing- an affair. And an affair equals motive. Stephanie is quickly cleared when Delores claims she had been in the fundraiser at the time of the murder, and that leaves Stacey (one of Bradford's ex-wives who has all of her parents' inheritance now that he's dead), Tim Pearson (the assistant who was replaced by a girl who didn't even have half of the credits he did), and Kyle Williamson (the only student that Bradford has ever flunked completely). Puzzlingly enough all of them have alibis. Even his other ex-wife.
But, remember Sherri and Perry and how her mysterious illness was included ever so subtly? Authors never include cryptic foreshadowing for no reason. Turns out Sherri is PREGNANT- with Bradford's baby. Upon Hannah confronting Perry, he admits that he was the one who killed Bradford, out of fury that he would use practically half the population of women and that he wasn't good enough for Sherri. Hannah's locked in a tomb (lovely place to be locked in, right?) before being rescued by Herb (Finally, a rescuer that ISN'T Mike. "Supermike Saves the Day!" was getting a bit old haha.)
On a side note, I've started noticing some foreshadowing tossed in. Joanne Fluke has been steadily decreasing Hannah's opinion of Mike and Norman- maybe finally the elimination of her ongoing triangle? It's little by little, but the hints are definitely there.