Death Under Glass

by Rachel Kimor-Paine
232 pages,
ISBN: 1894294998

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Review of Death Under Glass
by Nancy Wigston

Death Under Glass, by Rachel Kimor-Paine (Killick Press, 232 pages, $19.95, paper, ISBN: 1894294998). It's curious how we appear in the eyes of outsiders. In this murder mystery set in St. John's, gardening and murder dance an intimate two-step in the glorious last weeks of summer. The amateur detective is Olga Erdos, a retired lawyer from Budapest, who teams up with the police through her friend Lily, wife of the chief, a man who generously shares the progress of his investigation with Olga. The cast includes both the nouveau riche and the established cream of Newfoundland society.
While analysing a town consumed by the housing crazełat a time when the local Best Garden Competition is in full swingłOlga gets in some well-aimed barbs at the society in which she finds herself (why she's there remains a mystery). The first murder victim, real estate agent Shirley Brown, is crassness personified, a dedicated stealer of other women's husbands who measures her lovers' equipment on a scale raging from "peanut" to "heavy machine". As Olga redundantly observes in her accented English, "Shirley vasn't a popular girl." In a landscape where the truly classy folks are the least likely to be guilty, the plot moves along swimmingly until the moment when Olga interrupts a wedding ceremony. "This vedding must stop now!" Naturally the ceremony adjourns as the newcomer shows the locals how it's done, deconstructing motives and histories before naming the villain. A formulaic romp that's probably more fun if you live in St. John's.

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