Columnist David Linzee Pens 2nd Renata Radleigh Mystery
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May 31, 2017
Last year St. Louisan and West End Word columnist David Linzee introduced a charming and unlikely mystery heroine in his novel "Spur of the Moment."
Renata Radleigh, a London-born opera singer performing in St. Louis, worked to free her brother from jail by finding the truth behind a murder. She was ably assisted by a former reporter turned public relations specialist.
Linzee continues the Renata Radleigh Opera Mystery series with "One Fell Swoop." The novel opens with Radleigh living in London, auditioning for parts, taking odd jobs, and wondering if she will be able to continue to cobble a living together through performing. She is in a long-distance relationship with Peter Lombardo, the St. Louis based reporter she met in the course of clearing her brother's name.
When Radleigh unexpectedly meets her brother Don at a charity event, she is surprised to learn that he has been quietly purchasing property in a struggling St. Louis neighborhood for a mysterious client. Don explains that the goal is to stabilize and rehabilitate the area, but Radleigh has her doubts, which she shares with her boyfriend. Lombardo starts looking into the real estate deals and finds more questions than answers.
Radleigh initially believes that her brother is engaged in a probably foolish and sketchy business, but she doesn't suspect anything criminal or dangerous until a man she asks for information winds up dead. Unraveling the mystery behind this murder requires sleuthing both in London and St. Louis and reveals shady dealings involving the prestigious Adams University.
Linzee's enthusiasm for St. Louis current events, opera and London are evident in the details scattered throughout this twisty tale. Radleigh earns some quick easy cash in London by spending an afternoon being a light walker, filling in for a performer walking around the stage while the angles and colors of the lighting for the performance are arranged.
Linzee describes a neighborhood association back in St. Louis trying to combat crime and improve the area with community gardens, neighborhood watches and live-in landlords. He also captures the uneasy relationship between an impoverished neighborhood and a wealthy university.
This fast-paced tale will have readers rooting for Renata Radleigh and wondering what kind of trouble she will stumble into next.