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A Hint of Mischief

A Case for Romance by Katie Rose
(Bantam, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-553-57772-7
For romance readers who like a mystery, A Case for Romance just maybe your cup of tea or the book to read with your cup of tea. While reading the first chapter, I wasn't quite sure whether I'd been sent a romance to review for The Romance Reader or a cozy mystery for our sister site, The Mystery Reader.

Miss Emily Potter has spent most of her life quietly making hats in Boston. But while she enjoys making hats, Emily's passion is the art of detecting clues and solving cases in the manner of her hero, Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, the Boston police don't seem to appreciate her assistance, and Emily is often frustrated in her attempts to be a consulting detective.

So when the father she never knew is murdered, and no one knows why or by whom, Emily decides to sell her shop and head to Denver to solve the case. Upon reaching Denver, Emily is surprised to find that she's inherited a bordello, and a haunted bordello at that. Her father's mistress, Rosie, was gunned down along with her father and her spirit has not moved onto the next world.

Although Rosie can't remember who killed her, she does remember how to go about attracting a man. And she knows innocent Emily needs all the help Rosie can give her in that department. Particularly when Emily is so intrigued by the new reverend a man who came to town on the same stagecoach as Emily.

Thomas Hall is sexy as sin and about as unlike a preacher as a man can get. Emily's certain that Thomas is not what he seems. She's also certain that she will have to solve the mystery of Thomas Hall before she can solve the mystery surrounding the murder of her father.

Although A Case for Romance begins like a mystery, it quickly becomes apparent that it's a romance. At first I thought Emily's naivete concerning sex was a bit much for any intelligent woman past the age of sixteen, in any day and age. Fortunately, with the help of Rosie and Thomas, she becomes a quick study in the romance department.

One minor quibble: a villain in this story was given too much credit for erudition. In other words, an illiterate gunman should not find something to be "disconcerting." When such an inappropriate word choice for a character occurs, I'm immediately taken out of the story.

My minor quibbles aside, A Case for Romance is lighthearted fun; it's also sexy and romantic. A nice read for those who enjoy a blend of romance and mystery.

--Judith Flavell

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