Monday, December 04, 2006

"Death and Diamonds" by Susan Dunlap

From: A Woman's Eye, ed. Sara Paretsky, Dell, 1991,

From an anthology of female detective stories, "Death and Diamonds" finds San Diego PI Kiernan O'Shaughnessy waiting to board a Southwest Airlines flight to Phoenix, She strikes up a conversation with the man beside her. He questions her about what it's like to be a PI, and she proceeds to deduce details of his identity, seemingly for fun.

All the while, Kiernan is troubled by the death of a former client, Melissa Jessup, at the hands of a lover who then got away with her diamonds. I guessed early that Kiernan's waiting area companion was Melissa's murderer. I didn't guess how Kiernan would trap him. I enjoyed watching her strategy unfold.

This story is told in third-person, at times giving the narrative an awkward distance. Kiernan is a personable character, and there were several times I wanted the intimacy of "I," and read "Kiernan" instead. Still a nice display of deductive reasoning.

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