Thursday, April 19, 2007

DAMSELS IN DISTRESS by Joan Hess (St. Martin's)

I've read all of the Claire Malloy series, and I honestly think this was the best. Claire is beset on both sides when a high school history teacher requires next year's students (including Caron, who's prone to speaking in capital letters) to participate in a renaissance fair and the fair's jester wants to stage performances in front of the bookstore. Somehow Claire can't get too enthusiastic about the sponsoring organization--Association for Renaissance Scholarship & Enlightenment (ARSE), but once compelled to comply, she realizes the acronym is extremely accurate. In such a setting, murder is inevitiable.

Satire drips from the pages like honey from a comb, reminding us that when we take ourselves too seriously we usually provide others a good laugh.

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