Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Quokka Question by Claire McNab

Publisher:                  Alyson Books

You have to love Kylie Kendall. In the previous books in this series by Claire McNab, The Kookaburra Gambit and The Wombat Strategy, Kylie left her Australian roots behind and moved to Los Angeles to claim the inheritance left to her by her estranged father, half of a detective agency. The fact that Kylie knew nothing about being a detective did not deter her one bit; nor did trying to adjust to life in Los Angeles or working with the cast of zany characters employed at the agency.

In The Quokka Question, Kylie finally has her own case to handle. Dr. Oscar Braithwaite believes that someone is stealing his research on the lifestyle of Quokkas (you'll have to read the book to find out what they are) and is planning to torpedo his presentation at an international symposium about to be held in Los Angeles. He hires Kylie to find out who is doing this, which seems to be a simple enough case for a novice detective to handle, until someone murders him. This brings into the story one of the truly amazing characters in the book, his sister, sex therapist extraordinaire Dr. Penelope Braithwaite, who wants Kylie to find out who killed her brother. To say that Penelope is bigger than life doesn't do her justice as she sweeps into Kyle's life, creating mayhem wherever she goes. Meanwhile, Kylie is still trying to convince her business partner Arianna Creeling that they should take their partnership to a deeper level…or softer bed. Will Kylie earn her wings as a detective before someone clips them permanently? Will Arianna finally let her icy exterior melt so that Kylie can really get to know her? Will Dr. Penelope find someone in the book she doesn't want to give sexual advice (or experience) to? You will have fun reading this as the questions are answered.

Claire McNab has been writing for a number of years and is well known for her straightforward mystery series featuring Carol Ashton and Denise Cleever, as well as other books. It's nice to see an established author try a new spin in her work and do it well. The Kylie Kendall books are still mysteries, but they're infused with a sense of humor not found in McNab's other works. You get the feeling that McNab has decided to cut loose a little and just enjoy writing. The cast of characters she surrounds Kylie with will keep you chuckling, from the receptionist Melodie, who doesn't have time to do that job while she takes off for casting calls, to the self-centered cat Julia Roberts who shares Kylie's unusual living arrangements. And leading the pack is the irrepressible Kylie, often puzzled by what is going on around her, but never afraid to plunge in and see what happens. If you have not experienced Kylie Kendall yet, you are missing a gem of an opportunity.

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