Monday, September 9, 2019

The Death We Share (Patricia Delaney #3), by Sharon Short (author), Michelle Babb (narrator)

Sharon Short, January 2015 (original publication 1995)

Patricia Delaney is a detective, one who does most of her investigating on the internet. What I find especially fun about this book is that it and its companions were written in the 1990s, when the internet was new, and either exciting, or a reason to laugh at Al Gore--and Sharon Short knew what the internet really could and couldn't do. You could find a lot on the internet. Some of what you could find on the internet was where to go look at the print or microfiche records that weren't on the internet. In 1995, Yahoo! was in its infancy, just a year old, and Google wasn't register as a domain name until 1997. Internet research required skills. Patricia Delaney has those skills.

When retired opera singer Carlotta Moses becomes the target of a sleazy tabloid tv show, Patricia Delaney is the person to find out who in the singer's past wants to trash her reputation.

Someone is claiming Carlotta Moses had a son, and gave him up when he was four years old. Carlotta says she was unable to have children because of a medical condition. She also has an adopted son, a husband who is devoted to her, a granddaughter. Patricia investigates the tabloid show host, and, of course, Carlotta. Who knew Carlotta at the time she would have had this son, and can either confirm she wasn't pregnant, or would have a reason to try to harm her now?

Meanwhile, just when she needs to concentrate on this case, Patricia's father turns up on her doorstep. He's a violinist who never made a go of it professionally, and made his career elsewhere. He's got a huge crush on Carlotta Moses. He'd like to protect his daughter, to a degree that isn't possible for an adult, much less one making her living as a detective. And he has shown up so suddenly because he has suddenly left her mother, Margaret, with whom his relationship, in the eyes of their children, has always seemed perfect.

Patricia is juggling family problems and a major, complicated case simultaneously. Carlotta proves to be a difficult client, with some unexpectedly nasty secrets in her past. The tabloid show host is also not a nice guy, and he has nastier friends.

It's good, well-developed story that "plays fair" in that all the clues are there, if you pay attention, but with enough complications that you may not put them together before Patricia does. It's tightly plotted, and the characters are interesting. The world around Patricia is developed with enough texture and depth that I never had moments of, for instance, wondering where the cell phones were. This was, as with the web, just before cell phones were going to be everywhere, and smartphones were not yet a gleam in their developers' eyes.

A really good mystery, with really good characters. Recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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