Well Bred And Dead by Catherine Oâ€™Connell
Well Bred and Dead is about Chicago socialite Pauline Cook. Pauline is stood up for lunch by her friend Ethan and realizes something must be wrong. She rushes to his apartment and finds his body. Ethanâ€™s death is ruled a suicide, but Pauline doesnâ€™t believe it â€“ Ethan would never have killed himself while wearing such tatty underwear.
Among Ethanâ€™s things, Pauline finds two birth certificates that arenâ€™t his own and she begins to question his identity. Ethan had been accepted into Chicagoâ€™s elite circles, but it turns out no one may have known who he really was. Pauline uses her rapidly dwindling fortune to discover her friendâ€™s real name and determine whether or not he actually had any assets when he made her his sole heir.
Oâ€™Connell has to walk a fine line in Well Bred and Dead to keep the society characters, particularly Pauline, likeable. Most of the time she manages, but Pauline does have a few self-centered snob moments. Since this is a quest book, Pauline learns things about herself and changes along the way, which is very rewarding for the reader.
Oâ€™Connell also does a wonderful job of fleshing out Ethanâ€™s character through Paulineâ€™s memories. He sounds like someone you would like to know and this makes Paulineâ€™s quest ring true instead of an awkward plot device.
I canâ€™t go into details without ruining it for you, but there are aspects of the plot that surprised me. I like being surprised by mysteries â€“ it doesnâ€™t happen much any more. From fairly early on, you realize how one aspect of the book will have to end, but Oâ€™Connell takes an unexpected path to that destination.
Favorite character? Terrence, a ship that passes in the night. Did I guess it? No. Will I read another? Yes.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007