Samantha Smith, or Sam, as she’s known, is a private detective in Cardiff, Wales. She has a tangled personal history – never knowing who her father was, a mother who was an addict or alcoholic or both (Sam quit school at 12 to care for her), and an abusive ex-husband who keeps showing up like a bad penny looking for Sam’s helping with one of his news reporting stories.
She’s hired by the business manager of a singer, Derwena de Caro, who’s desperately trying for a comeback for what looks like a fading career. Derwena says someone is stalking her, but only one other person says that might be true. But it will help pay the bills, so Sam takes the case. Eventually, the trail will lead Sam to a murder victim, a mysterious woman who throws strange parties for the rich and famous, and even the possibility of romance with a psychiatrist. Unless Sam gets killed herself first.
Sam’s Song is the first of the 25 (yes, 25) Sam Smith mysteries by British writer Hannah Howe. It’s a gripping story, but at times it’s hard to square a hard-bitten private eye who sneaks into people’s houses with the sniveling mess her ex-husband can reduce her to. It’s also a mystery that includes touches of humor and possible romance, although Sam seems to go out of her way to drive the romance away.
In addition to the Sam Smith mysteries, Howe has published several stand-alone novels, a Golden Age of Holloywood series, a considerable number of novels in the Ancestry series and the Olive Tree series, and many other works. She lives in Glamorgan County, Wales, with her family.
I found the character of Sam Smith to be somewhat frustrating, but the story is good enough that I’ll give the second in the series, Love and Bullets, a try.
Some Monday Readings
The e-book conspiracy – Mark at Thoughts of a Sojourner.
The Cyprus Street, Bethnal Green, War Memorial – A London Inheritance.
Visiting Historic Kenmore: A Preserved Patriot’s Home in Fredericksburg, Virginia – Kate Bitely at Emerging Revolutionary War Era.