Friday, July 18, 2008

In Flames

Book Title: In Flames
Author: Melody Knight
Publisher: Linden Bay Romance
ISBN: 978-1-60202-061-0
Genre: Contemporary Suspense/Mystery Action/Adventure
Nymph Rating: 3 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Sphinx Minx

Lady Sophia Donovan has a thing about smoke and fire. It has to do with ritual abuse from her former lover Damian Venkman. Now he's dead and she is suddenly wealthy and powerful. Sophia has a soft spot for animals. She goes to a farm auction and, with her friend Peri, buys all the cows, calves, and goats. Then her clothes catch on fire -- for the first time. Her combustibility and the secrets of her past form the basis for this intriguing mystery.

Camellia Perigord Mackintosh-Hastings, sometimes called Peri, is Sophia's best friend. Strong-willed feminist Camellia took Sophia on as a "client" when the latter was in a women's shelter, before Sophia was rich. There are references to Camellia's other cases and computer hacking, but these are never really explained. Camellia's husband Jake is a spy for the Agency and they have a baby named Pieter.

Virile Marco Willis is Sophia's lover and Jake's partner in the Agency. Marco is the only one without money, and this proves an obstacle in his relationship with the fiery redhead. He wants to protect Sophia, but neither of them understands a relationship well enough for it to go smoothly.

Sophia's uncle may have a motive to harm her. Gerald Beaumont was hurt financially when she inherited and came close to being investigated in an arms case. And could Damian somehow return from the dead? There's an immense mansion with a church and tunnels, as well as a burial area to be explored. Author Knight also explores the innate differences between men and women in relationships.

The characters are all quirky. The amount of money involved made it a bit tough for me to relate to the cast. This is interesting, but confusing. This is a stand alone sequel to an earlier work by Knight, In Trysts. There are references to the earlier plot, which make sense. And there are references to non-essential characters that could have been deleted. This book reads well on its own, but I’d recommend reading the earlier volume first.

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