|Despite what the cover depicts, |
this is not a
'Pooch of the Powderhorn' story
That's not the case, though, as you've probably surmised by now.
No, this is another mystery story revolving around the adventures of New York-based travel writer Mallory Marlowe, who just happens to have the ability to stumble into a murder-mystery on every assignment.
This time, in Too Rich and Too Dead, she's off to a Colorado ski resort to write an article about the kinds of activities and adventures that visitors can enjoy when they prefer not to ski down the mountains. (While that may sound far-fetched, it's not; I've sold paddling stories to Ski Canada magazine, and that sometimes surprises people.)
Oh, and by the way - this was published before pot became legal in the state, so if you read it, keep that in mind.
Part of Marlowe's assignment involves interviewing celebrity health-guru and spa owner Carly Cassidy Berman, a former high school classmate. Before she can complete her assignment though, the celeb turns up dead in a mud bath at the spa.
Then the fun begins.
Mallory is sucked into trying to solve the mystery while trying to still complete the research for her travel article. Along the way, she gets entangled in not one, but two potential romances - one with a suspect, and the other with Trevor Pierce, her boss and editor of The Good Life magazine.
He shows up worried about her when news of the murder reaches New York, and given her previous adventures in Florida, he wants to make sure nothing happens to her. Or that's his story.
There are plenty of red herrings, and Baxter does a good job of conveying what a travel writer on assignment often has to go through to get a story completed.
Again, the depiction of a travel writer's life is a bit idealized; personally, I'd love to have her gig, myself: one guaranteed week-long trip each month, a spot in the magazine guaranteed, all expenses paid, and a good chunk of coin when the story is published.
Travel writers' Heaven, in other words.
The protagonist does manage to solve it and gets her magazine piece completed, as well.
Like the previous novel, there is also a section at the back with "travel articles" that contain information about the destinations and activities mentioned in the story, a nice added extra.
Since writing and publishing this second book in the series (2009), Cynthia Baxter has not written any more. The last book published by Bantam Books in her other series, Reigning Cats and Dogs, hit the markets in 2010. Her Facebook page has not posted anything in a few years, so it looks like she's not writing any more.
It's a pity; I would loved to have read more Murder Packs a Suitcase stories from her.
See? There's plenty to do in Colorado besides ski.