Monday, September 28, 2009

The Treacherous Teddy - John. J. Lamb


The Treacherous Teddy
A Bear Collector’s Mystery
John J. Lamb
Berkley Prime Crime

Mystery - Cozy

Brad Lyon, retired detective and teddy bear artist/collector, is busy creating a new bear with one year on the police scanner. This bear will mimic David Caruso’s “CSI: Miami” character, complete with sunglasses. It’s not clear whether the bear will be utterly insufferable, but that’s neither here nor there. Brad’s wife, Ash, is a part-time deputy and he can’t help listening to her calls. It gives him new insight into her decades spent as a cop’s wife. At the moment, she’s coordinating with a game warden to try and catch repeat poacher Chet. It’s not a dangerous call; Chet gets caught and goes along quietly, then gets released and goes back to poaching.

The routine is shattered, though, when a strange car rockets out of a farmhouse turnoff. Ash briefly gives chase, until she decides that the chase is too dangerous. She goes back to the farmhouse to check the place and finds farmer Ev Rawlins lying on his back, with an arrow in his chest. The most obvious suspect is Chet, who doesn’t appreciate being told that he can’t poach. But Chet is known for using rifles, never arrows. It all looks a little too neat to be an accident. In between making bears, showing bears, and working on getting their teddy bear museum off the ground, Brad and Ash decide to track down the killer.

It’s nice to see Ash’s character move to the forefront a bit more. It’s also quite interesting to witness Brad’s worry about his wife while she’s out on patrol in a rural VA town and realize how much worse it must have been for her when he was a detective in San Francisco. They really feel like a couple who have been together for a long time and seen a lot of ups and downs in life. It makes their working together – on bears or on murder – that much more realistic. This time around, the story gets off the ground quite quickly and the pacing is quite even. This is a great choice for fans of cozy mysteries and a solid entry in a winning series. (THE MOURNFUL TEDDY, THE FALSE-HEARTED TEDDY, THE CRAFTY TEDDY, THE CLOCKWORK TEDDY)

Rating: 7
September 2009
ISBN# 978-0-425-23032-9 (paperback)

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