Serenade to a Cuckoo: A P.L. McGinnis Mystery
by Flo Fitzpatrick
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432826017
Date: 15 August 2012
Someone wants a clock badly enough to kill three people for it and threaten P.L. McGinnis, a TV actor. When she is filming a new episode of Crime Unit New Jersey (CUNJ), she finds a dead body. Later, she learns the man was a contractor on the renovation of an old house belonging to a friend. More deaths follow and mysterious notes demand a clock supposedly taken from the house.
P.L. hates the short skirts and spike heels she wears for filming -- they are not practical. Lucky for P.L., she and CUNJ have plenty of fans. Many of them regard her role as a police officer as real. The fans cheer her on and help her out of difficult situations.
Mike Shimada, an investigative reporter she meets after the first death, likes P.L. and tries to keep her safe. Handsome Special Agent Eli Rossi wants her to tell him all she knows. Both men struggle against the unknown killer to keep P.L. out of danger. She is attracted to both men, but especially to Mike. He has a Japanese father and an African American mother, lived in Japan for ten years, and has traveled all over the world. He is prepared for everything although P.L. propensity for finding dead men strains even him, especially when one falls off a roof and atop her.
An accomplished writer, Fitzpatrick provides plenty of excitement to keep the reader engrossed in P.L.'s struggle to survive and her search for the clock and the killers. While elements of the ending are reminiscent of the old staples of lighthearted Hollywood films and operettas that strain credibility, the overall fun of the chase will not disappoint mystery readers. Most of the language will not offend cozy readers.
Humor predominates and quirky characters enliven the story. P.L. is fond of good food and plenty of suitably flavored, quality coffee so Fitzpatrick includes several favorite recipes, one for Sol's Bodice Ripping Brownies. She plans more adventures featuring P.L. McGinnis.