Overview

Newly licensed Private Detective Katie Hasworth faces her first murder case with more than a little anxiety - not only is she a newcomer, but the Chitting family would give Sherlock Holmes a migraine. Who murdered Alexa Chitting before she had time to change her will, leaving her fortune to the Key West Preservation Society rather than to friends and family? Her husband? Lover? Daughter? Katie faces more questions than answers as she faces the dangers awaiting her as she solves ...
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Conch Shell Murder

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Overview

Newly licensed Private Detective Katie Hasworth faces her first murder case with more than a little anxiety - not only is she a newcomer, but the Chitting family would give Sherlock Holmes a migraine. Who murdered Alexa Chitting before she had time to change her will, leaving her fortune to the Key West Preservation Society rather than to friends and family? Her husband? Lover? Daughter? Katie faces more questions than answers as she faces the dangers awaiting her as she solves his murder. From Publishers Weekly
In the wake of a traumatic classroom shooting, teacher Katie Hassworth turns private detective in Francis's stylish, fast-moving adult mystery debut, set in Key West. When an intruder bludgeons prominent entrepreneur Alexa Chitting to death with a conch shell in what appears to be a drug-related robbery at Alexa's marina office, the victim's daughter gets her close friend Katie to investigate. With her partner, Mac McCartel, away on another assignment, the less-than-secure Katie must do her best to crack her first case on her own. Conflicts over an endangered salt pond, an affordable housing project and a sudden change of will beneficiaries provide a murder motive for everyone from the panhandler selling information to the stunningly efficient manager of the Department of Community Affairs. An attractive and intelligent sleuth, Katie thoroughly explores all leads, albeit considerably distracted by the attentions of the town's tanned and handsome mayor, Rex Layton. Local lore, history, food, and fauna and flora add interest without overburdening a smoothly written and suspenseful tale. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Booklist
Francis, known for her mysteries for young adults, has written her first for adults. The story introduces Katie Haswoth, a recently licensed private detective in Key West. As a newcomer to the community, she faces a complicated case involving a prominent family. Alexa Chitting, owner of a prosperous marina, lies dead in her office. Someone killed her before she had a chance to sign a new will leaving her fortune to the Key West Preservation Society instead of her family and friends. The list of suspects includes her husband, lover, daughter, son-in-law, and secretary. The mayor and the housing-development director may be involved, too. Sorting out family entanglements and political corruption will give Katie a chance to establish herself as a detective if she can survive to solve the crime. Most Key West mysteries lean toward the hard-boiled, but this one gives cozy fans a chance to enjoy Margaritaville, too. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Product Description
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the wake of a traumatic classroom shooting, teacher Katie Hassworth turns private detective in Francis's stylish, fast-moving adult mystery debut, set in Key West. When an intruder bludgeons prominent entrepreneur Alexa Chitting to death with a conch shell in what appears to be a drug-related robbery at Alexa's marina office, the victim's daughter gets her close friend Katie to investigate. With her partner, Mac McCartel, away on another assignment, the less-than-secure Katie must do her best to crack her first case on her own. Conflicts over an endangered salt pond, an affordable housing project and a sudden change of will beneficiaries provide a murder motive for everyone from the panhandler selling information to the stunningly efficient manager of the Department of Community Affairs. An attractive and intelligent sleuth, Katie thoroughly explores all leads, albeit considerably distracted by the attentions of the town's tanned and handsome mayor, Rex Layton. Local lore, history, food, and fauna and flora add interest without overburdening a smoothly written and suspenseful tale. (Apr.) FYI: Francis is the author of Blink of the Mind and many other YA mysteries. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Junior high-school teacher Katie Hassworth, traumatized when prepubescent Jon McCartel opened fire in the classroom—killing a classmate and wounding her before turning the gun on himself—has decided to try a less hazardous profession. Now she and Jon’s dad have joined forces as McCartel and Hassworth, Private Investigators, whose caseload normally leans heavily toward drug-related cases, at least until perky Diana Dade, who rents Katie an apartment in the upper floor of her Key West mansion, begs the willowy blond sleuth to solve the murder of Diana’s mother, socialite Alexa Chitting, conked with a conch in her plush marina office. Since Alexa had been on the verge of writing a new will leaving her vast holdings to the Key West Preservation Group, there’s no dearth of suspects: Alexa’s husband Porter, her lover Tyler Parish, her secretary Mary Bethel, even Diana’s husband Randy all stand to lose a bundle once the new will is signed. And Katie interviews every last one of them, along with nasty Elizabeth Wright, who manages the Department of Community Affairs and pregnant Angie Garcia, Po Chitting’s Cuban lover. But the interview that gives Katie the most bang for her buck is with Key West’s mayor Rex Layton, who wines her and dines her and gives her all the goosebumps that ex-husband David (or, as he's known in Chapter 24, Chuck) couldn’t generate. Even the hilarious solecisms ("she wouldn’t hear from Tyler Parish unless she instigated another call") can’t lighten YA author Francis’s sodden first novel for putative adults.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781432826482
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 3/2/2003
  • Sold by: CENGAGE LEARNING
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 622,403
  • File size: 2 MB

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    engaging private investigative tale

    Though she has partnered with former Miami cop Mac McCartel for two years, former schoolteacher Katie Hasworth has been bonded and licensed as a private detective for a few months. Her confidence is limited so she is hesitant to take on a murder investigation especially with her mentor out of town even though her landlady and friend Diane Dade asks her to look into the death of her mother Alexa Chitting. Reluctantly Katie agrees to investigate the homicide ruled a robbery gone bad by the Key West police and concurred with by Mac. Katie begins her inquiries at the scene of the crime, Alexa¿s office, where the culprit killed the victim using a conch shell that ironically symbolizes birth. Katie finds an obscure bullet that the cops overlooked and believes more than just a robbery occurred as Alexa was changing her will. However, she wonders who were the losers if Alexa had signed her revised will and would one of them kill to keep his or her inheritance? Katie learns the answer as she becomes a target when she gets too close. This engaging private investigative tale hooks readers because the heroine lacks confidence yet courageously seeks to solve the homicide against staggering professional odds. The story line reads more like an amateur sleuth cozy as the violence is left off the pages and Katie is learning on the job. Katie is a delightful individual and the support cast enables the audience to understand her, especially her fears, much better even when they fail to cooperate. Fans will enjoy Dorothy Francis¿ straightforward Florida (no major whackos) mystery. Harriet Klausner

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