Campaigning Can Be Deadly: A Discount Detective Mystery
by Charlotte Stuart
Walrus Publishing

"Yuri stayed in the doorway, aiming his flashlight at the man’s head. Or what was left of it."

This crime tale is set in the Pacific Northwest. It's a contemporary mystery without excessive sex, violence, cynicism, and profanity. This is not to say that those elements don't creep into the narrative from time to time. Still, the point is they don't overwhelm the intellectual and humorous approach inherent in this involving and enjoyable whodunit.

Cameron is a single parent who lives with her mother and works for a discount detective agency. Both of those facts are somewhat deceptive, however. The Ph.D. she has earned indicates that Cameron's intellectual capacity is formidable. Plus, the agency she works for (in addition to delivering bang for the buck) is as professional as they come. She gets involved initially in what appears to be simply a case of stolen political signage, but the case escalates into an unsolved murder. Soon, Cameron finds herself in a miasma of well-heeled versus well-meaning political candidates, oil versus environmental policies, and multiple murder suspects with both opportunity and motive. She's aided in her dangerous pursuits by her cohort, Yuri, who packs heat and consumes calories prodigiously. Along with other members of their firm, they wind up in the middle of stakeouts, thinly veiled legal intimidation by the police, and deadly weapon threats by potential killers.

Stuart writes with a type of conversational casualness that is easy to read and moves the story along at a comfortable pace. Her characters are delineated sharply. There is a warmth to the tone of the protagonist's home life that seeps into her professional associations as well. This is a tale of good folks involved in others' bad behavior, and how it turns out just might surprise you.

Return to USR Home