Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyCooper, aka British novelist Daphne Wright, follows A Common Death with this suspensefully plotted addition to the Willow King mystery series. Self-assured, well-to-do Willow shares her creator's penchant for multiple personas: she pens bestselling bodice-rippers under the pseudonym Cressida Woodruffe. However, she willingly sets aside her latest book contract when she receives a frantic call from her ex-lover, Richard Crescent, who has been arrested for murder after finding co-worker Sarah Allfarthing with her throat slashed. Seriously doubting that Richard could be the killer, Willow masquerades as a training consultant to gain entry to the banking firm where he and Sarah worked; there, employees reveal that the victim had inspired many crushes and may have used blackmail to get plum assignments. The glamorous Willow, with a full-time housekeeper and an outfit for every occasion, seems fit more for a soap opera than for sleuthdom. Happily, she tempers her fantasy lifestyle with convincing concern for Richard. Although Willow's expected lone confrontation with the guilty party seems anticlimactic, this sparkling whodunit effectively blends mystery, sophistication and a dash of romantic melodrama. (Jan.)
Library JournalWhen he is accused of brutally murdering his only female bank colleague, a former lover appeals to Willow King (a.k.a. romantic novelist Cressida Woodruffe) for help. With her British civil servant status on hold, Willow assumes the identity of personnel consultant in order to ferret out information at her friend's place of work. Cooper's well-modulated narrative voice and crisply refreshing prose continue a fine, literate, and deeply satisfying series ( Poison Flowers , LJ 11/1/91; A Common Death, LJ 1/91).
Emily MeltonWillow King, a dowdy civil servant in the Department of Old Age Pensioners, lives in a dingy, depressing flat in Clapham, counts her pennies, and wears cheap polyester clothes. But lucky Willow: she's also a successful novelist who writes under the name of Cressida Woodruffe and spends luxurious weekends and holidays in a beautifully furnished flat, with a closet full of expensive designer clothes. Now and then she also solves murders. When her friend and former lover, Richard, is accused of the brutal murder of a female coworker, Willow can't believe it. She's convinced of Richard's innocence, even though it appears to be an open-and-shut case: Richard was found covered with blood and alone with the body in a locked building. But Willow's tenacity and clever reasoning pay off, and she discovers the surprising truth in time to save Richard. "Bloody Roses" is well told, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing right up till the end, and there is just the right balance of suspense, violence, mystery, and romance. Cooper's characters are strongly charismatic, her plot is a cleverly challenging puzzle, and her heroine is an interesting blend of cool enigma and warmly loyal friend. This third Willow mystery may be the best yet.
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