Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Pointed Death by Kath Russell

Nola Billingsley has been caught in the dot-com burst.  Her company, which added value to biotechnology companies, goes under when an employee embezzles funds.  The news gets worse.  Nola, walking her dog, finds the decapitated body of that former employee, a coincidence that is hard to believe.

While the police don't come out and tell her she is a suspect, it is obvious that suspicion has attached to Nola.  Between trying to put her life back together by going back to her career as a biotech consultant, she decides to try to solve the mystery of who killed her former employee and why.  She is helped in this venture by her extensive network of contacts in the world of biotech, and by her new-found romantic relationship with one of the police assigned to the case. 
Before the case is solved, Nola uncovers high-tech corporate espionage, and connections to overseas governments determined to steal the intellectual property of these firms in what is one of the next economic frontiers. 

A Pointed Death is an engaging mystery.  Nola is a strong, independent career woman who makes no apologies for her intelligence and ability to put facts together to solve the case.  The romance is handled in an adult fashion also, with none of the coyness that is so often found in mysteries and which is off-putting.  The supporting characters are fun to read about.  Nola's eighty-year old mother lives with her and spends her time trying to manage her daughter's life.  Her dog, the pointer in the title, is an engaging canine who alternatively drives Nola crazy and enriches her life.  The mystery is difficult enough that the reader doesn't feel talked down to.  All in all, this book is a wonderful debut to a series that mystery readers will fall in love with. 

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