Bibliophile reviews Steel Guitar by Linda Barnes

Series detective: Carlotta Carlyle
No. in series: 4
Year of publication: 1991
Type of mystery: Blackmail/murder
Type of investigator: Private detective
Setting & time: Boston, Massachusetts, USA, late 20th century

Cab-driving PI Carlotta Carlyle runs into her former friend Dee Willis who is now a famous blues singer. Despite ambivalent feelings towards Dee, Carlotta accepts an assignment from her: to find their old friend Dave. At first Dee is unwilling to tell Carlotta why, but then admits that Dave seems to be trying to blackmail her. When Dee's recently fired ex-bass player is found murdered in Dee’s bed, she wants to cry off the search for Dave, but by that time Carlotta has become personally interested in finding him and discovering the truth, and enlists the help of another old friend.

While I have read one other book by Barnes (thus making her ineligible for the reading challenge), this was my first book about Carlotta Carlyle. I found the style snappy and the story quick paced, with some interesting characters and twists. Carlotta is a semi-hardboiled PI with a heart of gold, and I wouldn't mind reading more about her adventures.

Rating: A nicely done mystery/thriller. 3+ stars.


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