MPM is one of my take-to-a-desert-island authors whether she’s writing as Elizabeth Peters or Barbara Michaels. Her books never fail to entertain and intrigue. Naked Once More is one of the best as is evidenced by it’s winning the Agatha Award in 1989. It comes as close to pure mystery as anything she writes and it’s wildly entertaining.
Jacqueline Kirby is in her fourth outing in this book. She’s become a famous writer of romance novels which she feels are complete rubbish but pay the bills. She’s flamboyant, extravagant, stubborn and has a great sense of humor. In Naked Once More, her manager takes her to lunch to tell her that he is retiring and also that a sequel is being planned to one of the most famous books published in recent history. It was a book called Naked in the Ice and the author, Kathleen Darcy, disappeared mysteriously 7 years ago. The courts have finally declared her dead and her family is looking for someone to write the sequel. It’s all about money.
Though there are a number of authors vying for the job, Jacquelyn does get it and moves to the small town where Darcy lived and where her family still lives. Mysterious events begin which make her and the readers realize that all is not as it seems.
A lot of time is spent dealing with the difficulties of being an author and the oddities of the publishing industry. I did wonder if the issues surrounding the problems of writers were autobiographical. That writers are compelled to write, no matter what the circumstances, certainly is a theme of this book.
Through the entire book, homage is paid to many other mystery writers. That’s always fun to see. It has great pacing, the story keeps moving forward and you are drawn along through the mystery with never a dull moment. The characters are interesting and distinctive. Her descriptions bring everything to life. There is a feel to an MPM novel that is distinctive and you would know you were reading one even if you didn’t see the name on the cover. Elizabeth Peters just knows how to make a book fun to read.
I received this copy through Netgalley and I appreciated the opportunity to give it an honest review.