In the expensive world of real estate in San Francisco, it is a real coup to get to sell one of the Painted Ladies, the colorful row of Victorian mansions, but when a realtor is about to sell the yellow house, she and her clients find the body of another realtor in the garage in Murder in the Painted Lady. Peyton and Marco, one of the top detective teams in the SFPD, get called onto the case. There they discover that the killer strangled the woman with a silk scarf that he or she then kept, possibly as a souvenir. This usually indicates they have a serial killer on their hands. So they must rush to solve the crime before the killer strikes again.
I enjoyed the interaction among the people at the police department, in particular Peyton and Marco. Those two have a close partnership and look out for each other, but also exchange friendly banter, knowing each other well. I also liked the diversity of the employees at the police department, which displays Latinos, whites, Asian Americans, and African Americans, as well as a rather flamboyantly gay medical examiner with dreadlocks.
This book is a prequel to the Peyton Brooks’ Mystery Series, so the author is writing about the near past. It is set recently enough that the detectives have cameras in their phones, but the detectives have such remarkably weak computer skills that it is almost ridiculous. While I recognize that the police have a tech department that does all sorts of fancy work, regular officers should still know how to look through the basic files of a computer. It just didn’t seem to fit with the book.
Kelley Hazen narrates the audiobook of this novella. She has a good voice for police procedurals, giving a strong performance with believable voices that suit well. The voices have strong variety that still fit the characters. For example, the first time I heard the voice of Abe, the medical examiner, I immediately knew he was gay even before he asked Peyton what her sexy partner Marco is wearing. Yet Hazen manages to do this without making Abe a stereotype. This is a very good example of an excellent narration.
Not having read any of the “prior” books in the series, meaning the ones written before Murder in the Painted Lady but set after this book, I was unsure if I would feel a little lost, not knowing things that most readers would already know. But that was not a problem in this book. I was able to enjoy it as its own stand alone book. I give the book four stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free through Audiobook Boom, but that in no way influenced my review.
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