Friday, May 3, 2013


by Victoria Abbott
Berkley Prime Crime

What kind of work do you look for when you need a job that isn't minimum wage - slave drudgery like telemarketing, your student loans are staring you in the face, and you urgently need a new place to live?

The Christie Curse, the first in Victoria Abbott's new series, introduces Jordan Bingham, a recent English literature graduate with a master's degree, who is facing all of the above. To add to her problems, she comes from a family with a chequered history, and can't put her real surname on her resume.

She finds a Want Ad for the almost-perfect researcher's job. The imperfect part appears to be her new employer, a sour old lady rare-book collector who happens to be the most hated citizen in Harrison Falls, New York.

Jordan is nothing if not resourceful. Once into the job and the great little apartment in her employer's mansion that comes with it, however, she learns some disquieting facts that weren't mentioned during the interview. Her predecessor died while looking for the same rumoured Agatha Christie unpublished play that Jordan has been hired to find.

Her chequered family background and shady relatives turn out to be assets as she leads the reader through a wild chase in search of a play that may or may not exist. The chase includes a possible murder, the usual and unusual suspects, a psychotic cat, and a pug dog.

The mother and daughter team of authors Mary Jane Maffini and Victoria Maffini combine to create a seamless story under the pseudonym Victoria Abbott in this first Book Collector Mystery.

Don't miss this one! Agatha Christie herself would have loved it.

Reviewed by Carole Dalgleish

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