Title: Indelible Beats: An Abishag's Second Mystery
Author: Michelle Knowlden
Leslie Greene thinks dating a rich lawyer is a fairy tale come true. But without a fairy godmother to spring for the fancy dresses, she soon finds her bank account empty. Fortunately, Leslie does have one skill she can fall back on: marrying old, dying men. This time her adventures as an Abishag wife takes her to the La Jolla home of artist Jordan Ippel, where Leslie learns the mysterious circumstances surrounding his incapacitation. Could this be murder? Facing art forgeries, scandalous love affairs, and a holiday fruitcake that refuses to die, Leslie's latest assignment may bring her--and her friends--closer to danger than ever...
Whereas in Sinking Ships, the first Abishag mystery, Leslie was just learning the ropes, here she has more experience as an Abishag wife, which means she spends less time reciting rules and more time solving the mystery. Likewise, author Michelle Knowlden has less introductions to get through, enabling her to dive straight into the story. The mystery is stronger and the writing is smoother this time around.
A lot of the same wonderful characters appear, including husband and wife duo Kat (Kathmandu) and Dog (Douglas), as well as the grandson of Leslie's previous husband. But the big new character is Jordan Ippel, who, though comatose, ends up being quite intriguing. Leslie only marries him because he lives far enough away that she hopes her boyfriend won't find out. She initially compares him to Dracula and knows only the rumors of his eccentricity. But as she enters his world and hears the stories from those closest to him, she unearths his true personality. What begins as a marriage of convenience grows into a marriage of love.
While the characters and relationships are my number one pleasure in the book, a close second is the description of food. I wanted to sample artisan oil and vinegar, herb and cranberry porridge, and Christmas breakfast streusel. (I could do without the fruitcake.) The house and the paintings were also well-described, creating a rich and vivid world I could easily step inside.