In Luck Be a Lady by Gemma Halliday and T. Sue Versteeg, Tessie King is attending the funeral of her father, the chairman of a major Lake Tahoe casino, when she finds out that he has left everything to her, and she now actually owns a very large majority share of the casino, which she doesn’t want. She must remain in Tahoe at least until they can call a new board meeting in ten days and elect a new chair to replace her. She gets involved in the case of some thefts that can only have been committed by staff. Then, she learns that he has been under investigation by the FBI for mob ties and that they suspect his death was not natural.
Clearly not welcomed by the security staff of the casino, Tessie sets off to do her own sleuthing, which takes her throughout the casino, to a men’s stripping event, and to the ski slopes. She teams up with her step-mother, Britain, whom she comes to know as a real individual and not just the gold digger Tessie’s mother assumes her to be. She also gets support from her gay local best friend, Tate, who takes her to the beefcake event. On the other hand, she does not get along with Alfie, the head of security, who keeps telling her just to go to the spa instead of poking het noise into his business.
This book has its high points, such as the very satisfying conclusion. But there are other places that I didn’t enjoy. The character of Tate seemed to fit the stereotype of the effeminate gay man to such an extent that the character did not cone across as very believable. I will, however, point out how rare it is to find gay characters in cozy mysteries that the mere presence of any gay man is a nice addition to the book. I did get annoyed at the frequency of references to sexual imaginings of Tessie and things like the beefcake event.
The narrator, Lyssa Browne, does a strong performance of the audio narration of this book. A couple times I felt she got overly emotive, but those were the exceptions, not the rule. The character of Tate got overly dramatized at times in his gay persona, but I think that is a response more to the wiring style than to the narrator’s interpretation.
In general, I enjoyed Luck Be a Lady, but it is not among my favorites in my audio bookshelf. I think the series has potential to build on what this book has begun. So I’ll have to examine reviews of the next book to see if other readers feel it improved over this first book in the series. I give the book three stars.
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