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Friday, 18 July 2014

FFB - Spin and Die

Although this is the third in the series of Jordan Lacy mysteries written by Stella Whitelaw, it’s the first I’ve read.

There are nine, the latest title being Jazz and Die (2014). It’s a cosy mystery, that is, there’s no graphic violence or strong language and no gory bits. It might not appeal to fans of Kathy Reichs or Patricia Cornwell, but clearly Whitelaw has a big following in libraries. She has had over fifty books and 300 short stories published.

Jordan Lacey is a female PI in the fictitious southern seaside resort of Latching. She used to be a policewoman, though you’d hardly guess it from the elementary errors she makes. Whitelaw is 73 and suffers from asthma, so Lacey suffers too, which is credible; however, she has Lacey being taught how to use a video camera, which is highly unlikely; and a little later she admits to having almost forgotten how to work the camera: an ex-policewoman? Lacey runs a second-hand shop and displays goods in her window before she’s even valued them? Really? She pretends to be a canvasser but has no backup story and wings it. She mentions some fabric, ‘the kind they wore in the Falklands.’ How’d she know that?

Despite these minor quibbles, the character of Lacey is engaging in a self-mocking way. Gutsy and not above breaking the law. She is sort of in love with two men, a jazz trumpeter and DI James, but can’t manage to make up her mind – or theirs.

A simple shadowing job turns ugly when her employer winds up dead on the funfair ride, Hell’s Revenge. Worse, while she is investigating vanishing stock from a department store, unsavoury links are made to the murder... She is particularly good with relationships, whether that’s the elderly gent running the town’s department store or the odd shady but nice crook.

Definitely worth whiling away a couple of hours, and you may get hooked on the ‘and Die’ series; if the earlier print versions are hard to get, there are e-book versions.

The full series is:

Pray and Die (2000)
Wave and Die (2001)
Spin and Die (2002)
Hide and Die (2003)
Jest and Die (2004)
Ring and Die (2005)
Turn and Die (2007)
Fold and Die (2009)
Jazz and Die (2014)

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