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Eugenia Swift is a young woman of singular sensibilities, a connoisseur of beauty...and naturally inclined to tackle even the most difficult tasks on her own. As the director of the Leabrook Glass Museum, she's been asked to travel to Frog Cove Island— an artistic haven near Seattle— to catalog an important collection of art glass belonging to the late Adams Daventry. But thanks to unsavory rumors surrounding Daventry's death, the museum insists that Eugenia take along Cyrus Chandler Colfax— a rough-hewn private investigator whose taste in glass runs to icy cold bottles filled with beer. When Colfax declares they must pose as a couple, Eugenia protests in terms as loud as his Hawaiian shirts. She's loath to disclose the secret purpose of her trip: investigating the disappearance of her good friend Nellie Grant...the late Adam Daventry's lover. Meanwhile, the green-eyed calm of Colfax's gaze shields his own hidden agenda— locating a priceless Daventry treasure that will help him avenge an old wrong.
While Eugenia has always kept her heart on a shelf, their very lives soon depend on making an utterly convincing couple. Because among the chic galleries of Frog Cove Island lurks a killer, and their only chance for survival is the boldest, most artful collaboration they can dare to imagine.
Suspense, taut plotting, and the fascinating world of art glass combine with an unlikely hero-heroine pairing in Sharp Edges. On the surface, Eugenia and Cyrus are nothing alike: she’s a sophisticated museum director with a passion for art glass, while he’s a a private detective who dresses in loud Hawaiian shirts. She’s impatient and headstrong; he’s self-controlled and doggedly patient, a self-described “tortoise” rather than a “hare.” I was skeptical of their attraction to each other at first, but as I got to know each one better, I realized along with them that they share some fundamental traits: loyalty, a sense of responsibility and of justice, determination, commitment, honor, and strength of character. Those shared characteristics make the pairing work despite their surface differences– and their initially conflicting agendas.
While the focus is strongly on Eugenia and Cyrus and the dual mysteries they are trying to solve, the secondary characters are well-drawn and, in the case of Cyrus’s nephew Rick, engaging as well. Cyrus’s relationship with Rick does a lot to establish and deepen his character, but despite the fact that he doesn’t get a lot of page time, I liked young Rick as well. He’s a kid on the cusp of manhood, trying to find his feet. I’d love to know what he did with his life (hint to Ms. Krentz: he’d be about 36 now, just the right age to be the hero in his own book!)
The plot twists and turns in true JAK style, and overall, it’s well-constructed. I did feel there was a weakness in one character’s actions and her explanation of them, and the villain’s methods aren’t clearly laid out, but those are minor quibbles that didn’t keep me from enjoying the story. And the book holds up quite well despite its age (it was published in 1998.) Sharp Edges is a solid entry in the Krentz canon.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge (Mar. 2016)
- The Backlist Reader (TBR) Challenge 2016