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Wednesday, 17 August 2011
‘Portrait of a Murder’ by Stella Whitelaw
Attending a fashion event at the Longstreet Manor in
West Sussex, the home of Barry Digby-Jones, Harriet slips into her persona of Henrietta, wealthy model girl about town. Soon Barry Digby-Jones has sexual designs on her also. Evading Gil’s pudgy hands and keeping Barry at bay is manageable – just. Then attractive Axe Winston steps into the picture, and lures her to lunch and feeds her strawberries on the beach – all manageable, but ex-lover Denzil who is stalking her with a knife is not manageable.
To get closer to discovering the whereabouts of ‘The Frightened Lady’ Harriet uses another of her disguises and becomes Harry – student. Rushing around and adopting disguises is tiring but fun, but soon matters take a sinister turn, and despite being warned by DI Brice McDonald, who incidentally is the only man that Harriet would like to have sexual designs on her, she continues to pursue the painting which gets her into all sorts of trouble.
I enjoyed this caper immensely, Harriet is an engaging and resourceful protagonist, and her many guises entertaining. There is a good twist at the end, and the mystery of the missing painting is satisfactorily resolved. Good characterisation and some marvellous dialogue.