Posed for Murder

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Overview


Lydia McKenzie is an artist whose medium is the camera. She’s having her first one-woman show. It is a series that ties to actual murders committed in the city’s past. Her method is to find a model—someone who can match in a general way the actual female victim—and pose her in the clothes and position in which the actual victim was found. The night of her showing, however, is disappointing; the owner of the gallery makes her pay for the invitations down to the stamps, hang the whole show herself, and rush for ...
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Overview


Lydia McKenzie is an artist whose medium is the camera. She’s having her first one-woman show. It is a series that ties to actual murders committed in the city’s past. Her method is to find a model—someone who can match in a general way the actual female victim—and pose her in the clothes and position in which the actual victim was found. The night of her showing, however, is disappointing; the owner of the gallery makes her pay for the invitations down to the stamps, hang the whole show herself, and rush for the usual wine and snacks. But what happens next is much worse: two plainclothes policemen shut down the event and take Lydia in for questioning. A young woman whom she knew well, and who was the model in one of her photographs, has been murdered. Worried that the police aren’t doing what they should, Lydia and another friend set out to find the killer.

The winner of the celebrated St. Martin’s Minotaur/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, Posed for Murder presents a snapshot of crime in a lasting and memorable story.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Life imitates art with dire consequences in this provocative first novel.”--Booklist

[An] entertaining debut…Contemporary Manhattan, viewed through a struggling artist's eyes, lends social and cultural interest.”--Publishers Weekly

"Author Cole has created a tough-minded and attractive central character who is resilient and believable, as well as strong secondary characters who add to the novel's depth. It is a solid debut crime story with a fascinating premise, engaging characters, and a good feel for the novel's urban space.”--Mystery Scene Review

Publishers Weekly

Cole's entertaining debut, winner of Minotaur and Malice Domestic's Best First Traditional Mystery competition, introduces fine art photographer Lydia McKenzie. Before the cheap wine is gone, the police arrive at Lydia's first New York solo exhibit, a collection of meticulously reconstructed homicide scenes, to inform her that one of her models, a good friend, has been killed and posed in the same manner as one of Lydia's photos. After another of her models suffers the same fate, attractive NYPD Det. Daniel Romero warns that Lydia may be next. Lydia begins to investigate, albeit in amateur fashion. Several members of her artist critique group make promising suspects, one of whom is arrested, but too late Lydia realizes she and the NYPD may be mistaken. She soon has cause to be grateful for her newly acquired self-defense techniques, learned at her best friend's insistence. Contemporary Manhattan, viewed through a struggling artist's eyes, lends social and cultural interest. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

As photographer Lydia McKenzie's first one-woman show opens, the police inform her that a friend was murdered. It seems a killer is using Lydia's photos, which re-create actual murders, as he targets her models. Lydia's day job is office manager for a private detective agency, so it is not a great stretch to the plot when she sets out to find the killer after a second friend/model is murdered. The only jarring note is why Lydia, unless she is completely insensitive, would believe that portraits of murdered young women would be art and not hurtful to the victims' families. This winner of the St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel competition is recommended for larger collections. [Library marketing.]


—Jo Ann Vicarel
Kirkus Reviews
Who's stalking the aspiring photographer and knocking off her models?Lydia McKenzie aggressively works the crowd during the opening night party for her first solo art show at the Bulan Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The tippling of slightly hysterical gallery owner Jacques Bulan threatens to spoil the show, which features artistic re-creations of lurid crime scenes. But the festivities continue until police detectives Romero (male) and Wong (female) arrive with the news that Lydia's model and friend Marie has been murdered and, even worse, arranged in a pose that matches an art photo snapped by Lydia. Lydia finds the sexy Romero sympathetic, but Wong treats her like a suspect. When Marie's mother asks Lydia's help in planning a memorial service, Lydia begins searching for a missing address book to contact potential attendees. She finds it, along with some evidence that may incriminate Marie. Lydia's day job at slapdash D'Angelo Investigations-where Leo and Frankie D'Angelo spend more time avoiding work (and their domineering Mama, who owns the business) than investigating-provides comic relief and a diversion from her troubles. At length, however, a rift develops over Heather Pruitt, a blonde bombshell who entrances Frankie, annoys Leo and seems to have designs on the business. An attack on Jacques and the murder of more models make Lydia fear for her own life and launch her own investigation. Cole's fiction debut, winner of the St. Martin's Minotaur/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, is amiable, well-plotted and just a bit stiff.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312378561
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/17/2009
  • Series: Lydia McKenzie Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Meredith Cole directed feature films and wrote screenplays, winning a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant in Screenwriting, before writing mysteries. She won the Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition in 2007. She is a member of the board of the Mystery Writers of America/NY Chapter, and currently lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with her husband and son.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2009

    Low point for Malice Domestic winners

    I've been a fan of the Malice Domestic winning books for traditional mysteries (even though the previous winner was more of a hard-boiled crime novel) but found this to be one of the weakest of the bunch. It annoys me when writers portray the cops as a bunch of dolts and in "Posed for Murder" the two New York City police detectives appear totally clueless about how to investigate a crime (they also need the concept of a photographic darkroom explained to them!) The heroine is a self absorbed artist who seems more concerned with the clothes she wears than catching a killer, and also withholds important clues from the cops for no apparent reason. I expected a writer with a film background to have a better handle on advancing the story with dialogue and action rather than endless reams of exposition. Hopefully the next Malice Domestic winner (which comes out in just a couple months) will resurrect the series.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    This is a fun opening tale, which hopefully is the start of more amateur sleuth adventures

    Ever since she can remember photographer Lydia McKenzie wanted to have a solo exhibit of her work. Her dream comes true when Jacques Bulan displays her photos at his Bulan Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The pictures are that of models posed as dead people from the Lost Girls book. The author photographed the actual corpses while Lydia duplicated the victims using her friends. Her exhibit is interrupted when two NYPD detectives Romero and Wong arrive. They inform Lydia that one of her models Marie LaFarge was killed and posed just like the photo she was in.<BR/><BR/>When Jacques calls her to inform her he has a client interested in buying her work, she rushes over to the gallery only to find Bulan murdered and no one else on site. At her apartment, she stops to pick up her mail which includes an unmarked envelope. Inside is a photograph of Jenna looking dead; identical to the one Lydia took. Soon afterward, the killer trashes Lydia¿s apartment leaving behind a note stating she is next. Instead Emma, another friend who posed for her is missing; a photo arrives in gory detail. When Lydia is kidnapped, she escapes along with Emme, but knows her life is in danger unless she can take down the culprit.<BR/><BR/>POSED FOR MURDER won the St. Martin's Minotaur/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition and readers will see why. The plot flows smoothly with a wonderful whodunit and why keeping reader attention. The key characters especially the beleaguered heroine are fully developed and either are involved in the murders or her job as a ¿Girl Friday¿ at D'Angelo Investigations, owned by comedic brothers Leo and Frankie D'Angelo and their authoritarian Mama. Readers will admire Lydia for her New York City grit and courage as she takes charge of her life although she fears the killer. This is a fun opening tale, which hopefully is the start of more amateur sleuth adventures.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    Didn't like it

    I got this book because I like mysteries and I thought the insider view of the NYC art world sounded interesting. Unfortunately that is the only good part of this book. I didn't like the characters, the plot doesn't flow, and there are too many things the main character does that make no sense. This will be donated to the library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2009

    Clever premise for murder

    Lydia McKenzie's photography is unique. Fascinated with the unsolved murders of young women in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, she recreates these scenes posing her friends as models. But she never anticipated these photos would lead to someone's death.

    When her friend, Marie, is murdered and posed exactly as she had been in one of the photos, Lydia is spooked. Someone had access to her work, and used it not only to kill her friend, but also to frame her for the murder. At times working with the homicide detectives assigned to the case, but also occasionally withholding information, Lydia tries to figure out who would want to murder Marie.

    The killer is hot on her trail, and she needs to prevent the murders of any more of her friends, or herself, as she's been warned. It's a battle of wits that she's determined to win.

    Posed For Murder uses a clever background for murder, setting this story in the arts community, with an unusual form of art. The characters are believable and well-developed. But the one flaw I found with this mystery was the conclusion and revelation of the killer. Without giving too much away, I was a little disappointed at who this turned out to be. But overall, this was an enjoyable and intriguing story, and I look forward to seeing more of this new author's work.

    Reviewer: Alice Berger, Bergers Book Reviews

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  • Posted July 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Likeable Heroine

    It should have been an evening of triumph for photographer Lydia McKenzie, who was debuting her collection five years in the making of photos featuring models reenacting unsolved murders. Instead, her drunken gallery manager forced her to pay for promotional items and even neglected to provide drinks for the jaded New York crowd. Those are minor complications though compared to the arrival of two NYPD detectives with the news that one of the models featured in Lydia's photos was just discovered murdered and they are very interested in learning why the woman was photographed as a corpse on the exhibit's invitations.
    Lydia created her arguably morbid collection after becoming fascinated by Lost Girls, a book documenting the tragic unsolved murders of unidentified young women in Williamsburg. After also being touched by murder when a child, Lydia hopes that her photographs will bring awareness to the crimes and perhaps lead to the identification of the women and bring resolutions to their families. Now, Lydia is terrified that her friends who posed for the photos may be targets for the same murderer who inspired them, especially when another model is murdered and a third goes missing.
    With amateur detectives, the major obstacle is creating a justification for them to believe that they are as capable as - if not more than - the police to investigate. Cole overcomes this by having Lydia work as the Girl Friday for a pair of very Italian private investigator brothers. However, a comedic side plot that has their restaurant-owning mother paying Lydia to spy one of her son's girlfriends seems a distraction and inserted only to add some uncomfortable humor. The ending unfortunately also feels rushed and the solution seems forced and disjointed from the rest of the novel.
    The winner of St Martin's Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel, Meredith Cole is an experienced film director and screenwriter who was waylaid by pregnancy. What Cole excels at is the depiction of New York City and the artists' community. She vividly describes how the artists' former factory lofts of Williamsburg and the largely Polish ethnic Greenpoint have become high-priced condos and businesses and she documents the dilemma of artists who consider themselves so artistic that no one understands - or buys - them. Even Lydia succumbs to snobbery against artists who have "sold out" to cater to tourists and the commercial sectors. There is of course a romantic element tossed in with the swarthy attractive detective, but it's the vulnerable Lydia and the world of New York artists that make this an enjoyable read. - Cindy Chow

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  • Posted May 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent debut mystery

    Meredith Cole won the St. Martin's Press "Malice Domestic" writing competition with her debut novel POSED FOR MURDER, and small wonder. Meredith knows New York City, photography, fashion, and the art world--all of which play prominent roles in this fast-paced whodunnit. When aspiring artist Lydia McKenzie's models start geting murdered (posed exactly as they were in Lydia's gallery photos) she swings into action to protect her remaining friends. With the aid of the handsome Detective Romero, her vivacious gal pal Georgia, and a host of other engaging characters, Lydia launches an investigation of her own--and hopefully a long-lasting book series. As Georgia says of Lydia's art work, "Sugar, they can't help but be intrigued."

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