Melodie Johnson Howe’s HOLD A SCORPION is the second book in her series featuring Hollywood actress Diana Poole (the first was CITY OF MIRRORS; there is also a collection of short stories titled SHOOTING HOLLYWOOD). Howe’s protagonist, Poole, is mostly believable, likable, has a strong personality with realistic deductive powers, and can certainly hold her own with greasy talent agents and narcissistic fellow actors. The pacing of the book and its brevity are also refreshing after so many 300+ page mysteries.
We start out with a bang, or maybe more with a sickening thud. Diana is standing outside her front door, adjacent to the Pacific Coast Highway, when she sees a woman on the other side waving to her. The woman sees a large black car pull up along the berm and then, deliberately, she walks into traffic and is instantly run over and killed. When Diana investigates the actual scene of the “accident”(?), she discovers a bejeweled scorpion, the very same scorpion that Diana’s mother had on her bedside table right up to the day she died.
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