Reviews for The ghost orchid

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Once again, Alex Delaware helps police identify a killer. In a fancy section of Los Angeles, a naked man lies by a swimming pool, an unrolled condom at his side. Nearby lies a woman who wears only a wedding band. Each has a single bullet hole through the heart. Homicide detective Milo Sturgis catches the case and brings in psychologist Alex Delaware, his best friend. They learn that the dead man is a footloose member of a rich Italian family; the woman is 41-year-old Meagin March, whose husband, Douglass, has been away on business (a lot). As per police procedure, they suspect “Dougie-with-two-esses”: Had he hired a hit man? And what is the significance of shooting both victims precisely in the heart? Meagin and Douglass had only been married a couple of years, and the widower claims he’s been clueless that his wife was cheating. He has no interest in her paintings, including one of a ghost orchid, which he deems worthless. What he does want is the bling he bought her. He had coughed up “a hundred thou” to pay for her purple diamond necklace, and he wants it back right now, because the market for colored stones has skyrocketed. “I need to get something out of all this,” he demands. “F-minus people skills,” Delaware notes. Readers will be rooting for the jerk to be guilty. But Delaware discovers much more as he delves into Meagin’s troubled past: Who had she been, and how did she wind up marrying Douglass in the first place? Alex and Milo make a great team; Milo has the department’s highest homicide solve rate, and Alex plumbs the psyches and mental injuries that influence both victim and perpetrator. Outside the main plot, a friendly judge assigns Alex the case of an adopted teenager caught between two parents who don’t want him. The psychologist hero makes it look easy, tying up the novel in a nice, neat bow. Like all the Alex Delaware novels, this one is fast-moving fun. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.