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The Trouble with Thin Ice
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Brisk and continuously engaging, this mystery is the hardcover debut of amateur sleuth Simona Griffo, seen before in The Trouble with a Small Raise , etc . An Italian transplant living in Greenwich Village, the 37-year-old Simona and her lover, Greenhouse, travel to the picturesque but financially shaky Sleepy Hollow Inn in upscale Fieldston, Conn., to attend the New Year's Eve wedding of their friends Kesho and Richard. Also along is Willy, Greenhouse's precocious, hostile 14-year-old son. Simona discovers the body of elderly Elisabeth Dobson in the icy waters of the inn's pond, with one of Kesho's earrings nearby. Kesho is arrested for the murder. Shrewd Simona plunges into the action, uncovering plenty of hostility among the aristocratic, often unsavory Dobsons. Was Elisabeth killed because she had planned to sell her Frank Lloyd Wright estate to Kesho, an African American whose parents were the Dobson's servants? Whatever happened to Elisabeth's husband Walter, who vanished without a trace eight years earlier? When Greenhouse, an NYPD homicide investigator, is called away, Simona and Willy form an uneasy alliance to produce a number of surprises. Rich in atmosphere and buoyed by wry wit, Crespi's briskly paced narrative calls for an encore. (Jan.)

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