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Friday, October 24, 2014

The Corpse with the Platinum Hair: A Cait Morgan Mystery By Cathy Ace

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

It’s Miss Shirley in the casino dining room with a skewer, in this locked-room mystery that has the suspects locked in with a murderer who seems to be systematically reducing their numbers before they can either identify the culprit or manage their release.

Psychologist and University of Vancouver Professor Cait Morgan had hoped to celebrate the birthday of her boyfriend Bud Anderson, a retired Vancouver Police Department homicide detective and RCMP officer, with an elaborate dinner at the Las Vegas Tsar! Casino and Hotel. A sudden security system alarm abruptly ends that though, knocking out the lights and securing all of the doors. When the emergency lights are restored, the diners are shocked to discover the body of the casino owner and Marilyn Monroe-esque Miss Shirley, stabbed through her seat with a saber just minutes after a deadline that had her inheriting her late husband’s Tsar! majority ownership.

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When the legal counsel Julie Pool fails to enter the proper security codes, all of the diners are locked into the dining room for twelve hours until the automatic reset, a time during which they could spend either hiding out from one another in anxiety or conducting a covert investigation into which of the thirteen – well, now twelve – was motivated to commit such a brazen act of murder. Without an outside phone line or Wi-Fi, tensions mount among the increasingly tense prisoners, whose number includes the overridden business partner, Miss Shirley’s stepson and probable heir, an operatic Diva, several attorneys, and a promising chef whose connection to Bud was the reason for his and Cait’s presence. The suspects are many, but their is growing alarmingly fewer fast as the mortality rate increases and the twelve hour deadline becomes entirely too literal.

Image source: Cathy Ace

In this fourth mystery of the series featuring victim profiler Cait Morgan, she continues to use her unique skills that connect a victim’s life to his or her eventual death. It’s an intriguing premise, especially considering how the criminologist turned victimologist was herself once profiled as a murderer and so implicated by British tabloids that she fled for British Columbia. In the classic tradition of locked-room mysteries, Cait and Bud question each of the guests and slowly everyone’s secrets are revealed. The author plays entirely fair with the clues and readers will enjoy unraveling the mysteries alongside this mature and savvy couple. Although they are locked in without power or resources, having a chef on hand along with the leftover meals means that foodie Cait will have ample opportunity to revel in and provide detailed descriptions. Traditionalists will enjoy this mystery that plays with classic mystery conventions while also celebrating everything that makes Las Vegas so unique.

To enter to win a copy of The Corpse with the Platinum Hair, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Hair,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 1, 2014. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Thanks for the review, Cynthia! You might be interested to know that Cait Morgan Mystery #6, due for publication this time next year (#5 THE CORPSE WITH THE SAPHHIRE EYES, set in a Welsh castle, comes out in the spring of 2015) is set on a cruise ship that has been sailing around the Hawai'ian Islands and is heading back to Vancouver, BC...and Oahu is the location of the victim's home. The name of the book will be THE CORPSE WITH THE DIAMOND HAND. No librarians are involved - sorry! ;-) Good luck to everyone who enters the competition!

  2. I can't wait to read this book, it is on my TRL.
    Would love to be lucky enough to win it :)

    1. I'm so glad you like the sound of it, Debbie. Maybe it'll be lucky 13 for you?? :-)

  3. Replies
    1. Hi Patricia - me too, I love it that you know the killer is there, but don;t know which one it is! ;-)

  4. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher