In order for her to uncover the truth, Carol must choose between her job and her personal relationships. What started out as coincidence between Carol and Eric becomes a race for the facts—pitting them against one another—before the thieves can pull off a daring escape, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind, and taking the jewels with them.
Related subjects include: women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, suspense, noir.
Other books in the Carol Childs Mystery Series:
• SHADOW OF DOUBT (#1)
• BEYOND A DOUBT (#2)
So, your employer (a radio station) is running a Christmas promotion with local chocolatiers to raise money for charity. As you are walking away from one of your taste tests, you happen to walk by a very famous and expensive jewelry store. Moments later, you see your boyfriend (of the 'with whom you woke up this morning' ilk) leaving the shop with one of those celebs you love to hate, and looking very chummy to boot. Before you have a chance to implode, a bomb explodes in the jewelry store, leaving a store assistant dead.
Just another morning in Beverly Hills? Not quite. And the series of events that ensue would be nearly impossible to predict with any certainty. Carol works for a radio station, so has somewhat of an 'in' with the awards ceremonies crowd, but her bestie and chocolate-tester has even more contacts. They make quite the formidable team, and complement each other's strengths and weaknesses.
This is the kind of story we all like to read. The rich and famous get down and dirty. Millions of dollars worth of jewels and jewelry vanish from crowded rooms. I could SO see this filmed in black and white, maybe in dress from the 1940's, but it works equally well in the modern day (and of course, Elizabeth Taylor's signature pieces of jewelry wouldn't make nearly as much hubbub back then). At an awards show after party, Carol and Eric happen to be sent together to a celebrity's (Carmen's) hotel suite to retrieve a diamond ring, and wind up taking a little more time (wink wink) than strictly necessary. When they get back to the party, Carmen is dead.
Another thing that makes Without a Doubt stand out is that it's not the heroine that winds up ticking off the bad guys. The station owner's wife, Bunny (cue rolling the eyes) decides she can do Carol's job better than Carol. Bunny rifles through Carol's desk, steals her research and goes off investigating the recent jewel thefts and a possible connection to Carmen's death. And Bunny winds up twitching her little nose a little too much into other people's business.
Also, there was the 'relationship' between Carol and 'Tomi', the mysterious caller who seems to have something to do with the jewel thefts. Apparently thieves who target jewels around the world have quite the informal competition going on, seeing who can get the biggest or most notorious 'score'. And getting away 'clean' is like the ultimate in extra points. Tomi wants people to know that the jewelry store employee was not supposed to have died. Apparently he's not the go-in-uzis-blazing-damn-the-innocent-bystanders-snatch-and-grab types - thank goodness. Not that this justifies the thefts, but someone more sociopathic could have done a lot more damage outside of Westin's jewelry store.
If I had to pick three words to describe Without a Doubt, I would pick:
MEET THE AUTHOR
Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001, Silverman retired from news and copywriting to write fiction full time. In 2014, Silverman signed with Henery Press for her new mystery series, The Carol Childs’ Mysteries. The first of the series, Shadow of Doubt, debuted in December 2014 and the second, Beyond a Doubt, debuted July 2015.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)