|My favorite camellias find another weathered chair in which to lounge on our cottage porch,|
while I lounge about reading one of my favorite mystery authors.
Sparkle Hayter wrote 5 mysteries in the 1990's/2000 featuring TV executive Robin Hudson, whose alarm and personal protection system for her New York apartment features poison ivy growing in a planter on her window sills, cans filled with rocks strung in strategic places around her apartment and an old Enfield rifle. It is the planter of poison ivy, which provides the fragile segue from my posts about the plants in our yard back to mystery reading.
|Penguin Books (2000), 228 pages|
At the beginning of this book, Robin's apartment burns up, forcing her to kick the planter of poison ivy out of the way so she and her cat, Louise Bryant, can flee down the fire escape and join the other residents of her building in their pajamas standing on the sidewalk. Escaping with just her laptop, a few mementos and her purse, Robin finds herself bunking at the famous Chelsea Hotel in the apartment of a friend who is conveniently out of the country. However, Robin soon gets an unwanted roommate, a young woman from an unnamed Easter Bloc country fleeing an arranged marriage, and bedlam ensues. Murder, mistaken identities, performance artists, inept thugs, a looted piece of art, revenge of a woman scorned, a religious zealot, a convent of nuns who bake and sell expensive cakes--all mesh together somehow in this wild and crazy mystery from Hayter.
The setting of New York city and, in this particular mystery, the Chelsea Hotel, are elevated to character status in the book and make me want to see New York City and the Chelsea Hotel for myself--preferably with someone as wild and crazy as Robin or Sparkle herself.
The plot is relatively unimportant in a Hayter mystery--the Robin Hudson books are so outrageous and entertaining . Up late one night to finish the book, I was laughing so hard during one scene that I was afraid I would wake up my husband on the other side of the house. Now I'm sad that there no more Robin Hudson books to read.
Other books in the Robin Hudson series:
What's a Girl Gotta Do (1994)
Nice Girls Finish Last (1996)
Revenge of the Cootie Girls (1997)
The Last Manly Man (1998)
Wait, I don't think I've read The Last Manly Man!
Hayter was born in British Columbia but has lived all over the world. She worked at CNN and then reported on the Afghan civil war, but subsequently decided to give up reporting in war zones. She returned to the states, wrote novels and did stand-up comedy. She has lived in Tokyo, Paris and most recently has become fascinated with Bollywood and India, where she is currently working on a project.