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The Shimmering Blond Sister (Berger and Mitry) by David Handler
Cover Artist: David Baldeosingh Rotstein
Review by Lynne LeGrow
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312574857
Date: 12 October 2010 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Just like the worm in the apple, even the affluent and seemingly idyllic Connecticut coast can hide some sick and damaged individuals. The shimmering blond sister, the seventh novel in the Berger and Mitry series, once again serves up a healthy dose of justice served.

Des Mitry is like a fish out of water. She is a svelte, tall, black policewoman enforcing the law in a predominately white, historic, upper class New England community. She seems undeterred by all this however, and she and her white film critic boyfriend keep the criminal element of Dorset, Connecticut under wraps.

In this outing Des is trying to discern the identity of the Dorset Flasher. Someone who has been exposing himself to the matrons of the community for some time. She believes that the flasher might be Augie Donatelli, a retired policeman who is now working as the caretaker for some of the community's exclusive condos. He and Des do not get along and have a pubic disagreement. Later when his body is found bludgeoned to death, Des is questioned and relegated to desk duty for the duration of the case.

It doesn't seem to help that Mitch's first crush is now living in one of the condos and has recently re-entered Mitch's life. She was also the subject of Augie's interest, and might have some secrets to hide. Can Mitch get past his feelings for her to discover what those secrets might be?

When Des finds out that her Dad is to have open heart surgery, she realizes that her predicament has fallen into the hands of internal affairs who sees this as leverage to get her father off the job. It is up to Des and Mitch to find the identity of the murderer to keep both Des's and her father's job out of jeopardy.

Both Des and Mitch are great series characters. Mitch is a widower who writes film reviews and books related to film. Des is a policeman's daughter who is following on the heels of her dad in the family profession. She and Mitch have been engaged and now are just back to being boyfriend and girlfriend, but this case brings them into a deeper understanding of what true commitment is.

Des's professionalism and street savvy, along with Mitch's keen intellect enable them to discover who the murderer is just in time... What more can you want from a mystery novel?

I have been following this series from the beginning with 2001's The cold blue blood. The ritzy community, beautiful historic shore, and fascinating characters have held me from the first.

If I have any complaints at all about the book, it is that this novel, more than others in the series, seems to rely on hip jargon more than is necessary. Terms like 'yo girlfriend' and 'my bad' seem to permeate the dialog. Do people really talk like that?

All in all, after seven books, I still want to read more in this series which is about as glowing an endorsement as I can give.

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