Leslie Caine, Death by Inferior Design Reviews

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“Death by Inferior Design ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 30/08/2004

Death by Inferior Design
Leslie Kane
Dell, Nov 2004, $6.99, 400 pp.
ISBN: 0440241758

As a gift to his wife, Carl Henderson hires interior designer Erin Gilbert to redo their bedroom. When Erin arrives at her client's home, she finds her competitor Steve Sullivan is redesigning the den of the Henderson's neighbor Kevin McBride. A third neighbor, Randy Axelrod, sets up a competition between the rival designers with the winner getting a story in his magazine Denver Lifestyles. Erin and Steve accept the contest because both know that the free publicity should bring many new customers.

Carl's son Taylor works with both designers. He opens a bottle of cyanide that is in the back of Erin's van. She notices some missing, but he denies taking any when she confronts him. Later that day, Randy keels over; he dies at the hospital. Erin's information leads to a toxic screening that shows he died from poisoning. Erin has a second reason to regret taking the job when she finds her baby picture on Carl's wall. Having been adopted, she believes her biological parent is nearby. Not long afterward, someone shoots at her car. Although she promised her adopted mom to not seek her biological parents, events force her to reconsider her vow before a killer murders her too.

The Crestview, Colorado neighborhood where all the action occurs seems so middle class with family values that the right wing would showcase it as the real America, but underneath the veneer are marriages on the rocks. Each family wants Erin to decorate a part of their house and though she knows to stay aloof, she is drawn into their lives. DEATH BY INFERIOR DESIGN is an exciting opening act of an amateur sleuth series starring a delightful beleaguered protagonist.

Harriet Klausner

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