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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Barbara Venkataraman's six mystery novels, Jamie Quinn Mysteries Books 1-6, are intriguing sleuth stories set in Hollywood, Florida. Jamie Quinn is a family law attorney and a sleuth when her cases become entangled in criminal investigations, including murder! Jamie's best friend Grace Anderson, a smart corporate attorney, is a great resource for advice on criminal law. Jamie also draws on the excellent investigative skills of PI Duke Broussard. In Death by Didgeridoo (Book 1), Jamie's autistic cousin, Adam, 22, is accused of murdering his music instructor with a didgeridoo, an Australian wind instrument. In The Case of the Killer Divorce (Book 2), Jamie's client Becca Solomon loses her appeal for child custody. When her husband Joe is found dead, Becca is suspected of murdering him. In Peril in the Park (Book 3) Jamie's boyfriend Kip Simons is the Director of Broward County Parks. A man is found dead in the park at the Renaissance Festival. In Engaged in Danger (Book 4) Jamie and Grace are co-counselors for Nan Glasser, who wants to divorce her husband, Marvin, a well-connected and highly influential attorney. A murder pulls Jamie and Grace into a dangerous criminal investigation. In Jeopardy in July (Book 5) Jamie is hired as a lawyer at La Vida Boca, an assisted living facility. Jamie turns sleuth when members of the poker club die under suspicious circumstances. In Malice in Miami (Book 6) Jamie and Nelda Santos are co-counselors in a paternity suit against Eduardo Matteo, Florida Sugar's ultra-wealthy owner. Matteo sues Jamie for defamation. To make matters worse Jamie is accused of stealing priceless art sketches from the Vizcaya Museum, where a man is found dead.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Barbara Venkataraman's fast-paced and suspenseful sleuth mystery novels. Each one can be read as a standalone. I enjoyed reading them in sequence because, with each mystery, I liked the character development of the remarkable Jamie Quinn and the well-crafted murder mysteries that turn Jamie into a sleuth! I liked the timeline of the six novels, starting with Death by Didgeridoo as Jamie pulls herself together after the loss of her mother, and helps her cousin who has been charged with murder. Subsequent novels are set a few years later. Jamie's character grows with each novel, and springs to life, professionally and personally. I liked the different mysteries in each novel and the increasingly complex tangled web of crime and murder.
The characters of Jamie Quinn, her family, and her friends are interwoven skilfully into the story. In this way, I could picture the changes in Jamie's life, her expanding law practice, and her growing ability to figure out, and handle the dangerous situations she finds herself in. These mystery novels gained a lot of depth because they are also about family, friendships, and love. I loved the diversity, drama, humor, comedy, and tension of the situations involving Jamie and the people who are important in her life, including her dad, her boyfriend Kip, Grace, Aunt Peg, Adam, Duke, Nick, Ana Maria, and Herb. Well-crafted, with many twists and turns, these stories are page-turners, with Jamie Quinn as an extraordinary sleuth!