Mischief Becomes Her

Kasey Michaels
2008, Contemporary Romance
HQN, $6.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0373773188
Part of a series

Grade: B-
Sensuality: Warm

Mischief Becomes Her by Kasey Michaels is the second novel in the Sunshine Sisters trilogy. Within a few pages I knew I wanted to read the stories in order, so I went out and bought the first novel, Dial M for Mischief. I am glad I did so, as it provided greater background for this story, and the second book starts within hours of the first book's closing.

Teddy Sunshine's daughters do not believe that he murdered the wife of mayoral candidate nor committed suicide to avoid punishment as the cops claim, and are determined to find the real culprit. To do so, they are going over the cases the late policeman-turned-private-investigator was working on in the hope that one of the cases will lead to the killer.

Jessica Sunshine has a local news show and is known for sweetly asking hard-line questions that blind-side her guests. She and Matt Denby, a cop who has his doubts about Teddy's death, team up to investigate the Fishtown Strangler murders, in which several prostitutes where killed about ten years past but no one was ever arrested for the crimes.

Jessica and Matt have a mutual attraction that neither wants to admit. So they take swipes at each other, Jessica teases him about his age, (he is 11 years older than she) and he replies with comments about her flightiness. Yet he helps her cope when her estranged mother arrives and riles Jessica by wanting only to claim her "survivor benefits" and the jewelry she left behind when she left the family. Jessica also sees that Matt takes an interest in a young man determined to get out of his Philadelphia 'hood and helps him achieve this goal.

Jessica is a vibrant woman, who often uses her bottled blondness to feign a lack of wits that is really opposite of her true character. She is feisty and shrewd, with a temper that she uses as a substitute for grief to help her cope with her father's death.

Matt is a bachelor whose biggest commitment is to a fish named Mortimer. He was married and lost his wife at an early age, and has lived with few emotional attachments since. As a homicide detective, he is used to giving orders and investigating his way, but Jessica has other methods, ones that usually make him a little crazy.

Friction between the two is inevitable and sparks fly. Personally, I wished the romance had been given more time to develop; it seemed to grow too fast to be totally believable. I was also disappointed in the solving of the case. The killer comes way out of left field. Maybe I watch too many Forensic Files episodes but all I could think was "What about the DNA evidence? They had it even ten years ago, and there are databases. The case should have been solved without the aid of Matt and Jessica." That is what spoiled the outcome for me.

Despite these problems, I really enjoyed the writing. Kasey Michael has a breezy, humorous style that often puts a smile on my face and I am looking forward to the final book in the trilogy. I want to find out whodunit, and if my suspicions regarding the murderer are correct.

-- Carolyn Esau

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