Crime Times Two is a double volume, containing the second and third Flora & Shamus Large Print Mysteries: Friday's Child & The Five Diamonds and Saturday's Child & The Sad King of Clubs.
Crime Times Two takes up where Thursday's Child & The Queen of Swords leaves off, soon after folklorist Flora Dimopoulos and private investigator Shamus Fitzmorris meet.
Friday's Child & The Five Diamonds takes place on historic Brick Row in National City, just south of San Diego. Brick Row, comprising ten brick townhouses, is unique on the earthquake-prone West Coast: the once-luxurious block-long row of brick Victorians built by entrepreneur Frank Kimball in 1888 as housing for executives of his railroad had, over the decades, fallen into disrepair until local historic preservationist Marva Jankowsky started her obsessive campaign of gentrification.
As aged owners pass away, the abrasive redheaded real-estate developer has snapped up every property on the tree-lined cobblestone block. Over the course of thirty years, Marva manages to acquire five of the ten Brick Row units, five of the crowning jewels of National City's Historic District.
Lately, however, fatal accidents have been carrying away elderly owners of Brick Row homes at a statistically-improbable rate. Accidents? Or is there some malevolent connection between these deaths and Marva's subsequent profit? When Marva offers Flora the position of Brick Row Folklorist-in-Residence, fatal accidents increase. Is bossy Marva, politically powerful but greatly hated, a serial killer or just a convenient fall-guy? Flora, Shamus, and formidable defense attorney MaryJo Clark match wits with an obsessed killer who is either very clever or, perhaps, simply very lucky.
Saturday's Child & The Sad King of Clubs introduces investigative reporter Shannon Hollister and psychic investigator Hope Elphinstone who assist Flora and Shamus in untangling the web of deceit which has ensnared Flora's Italian friend Marcantonio and acidulous landlady Deedra.
What is the connection between Ace Towing and Club King College, the casino card-dealing vocational school? What has become of the valuable Greek icon, the Madonna and Child painting which Shamus is planning to give to his angel Flora when he proposes? Who – and what – is Rita, the mysterious dark lady? Will the sociopath who goes by the alias Schlomo Einstein get what he wants – or what he deserves? Will the King of Clubs finally be brought to justice? And will Shamus finally propose marriage?
These two full-length mystery novels in Crime Time Two are, like the first Flora & Shamus Large Print Mystery, very funny stuff: the humor in the novels of Rosalie Stafford ranges from hilarious slapstick to acerbic satire.
Comic mysteries are extremely rare, and just as rare are modern embodiments of the tightly-plotted Golden Age genre, novels which follow the old-fashioned rules of mystery-construction. In the Flora & Shamus Mysteries, the crafty plotting beloved by fans of Agatha Christie is steeped in knee-slapping comedy and biting satire, a glorious combination for intelligent mystery readers.
Always curious, Rosalie Stafford has been a telephone psychic, massage agency dispatcher, civilian instructor in the USNavy’s Program in Afloat College Education, and humanities professor. Trained in Folklore, Literature, and Art History, she now lives in a vintage Airstream on a remote ranch in Arizona where she breeds Angora rabbits.