The Puzzled Heart – Amanda Cross

February 4, 2017

Amanda Cross brings forth a thrilling and dramatic mystery in The Puzzled Heart, published by Ballantine Books, copyright 1998.

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In this intriguing novel Kate Fansler and her husband Reed are faced with far-right-wing activists who object to her lectures supporting women’s rights.  Reed is kidnapped by these radicals and Kate is sent ransom notes demanding that she retract all her pro-feminist statements and declare that her lectures were improper if not wrong.  She is instructed to publish letters to all available newsletters as well as professional magazines stating that she was misguided in her teaching and lecturing.

Confronted with the fact that her husband is being held hostage Kate seeks advice from her close friends, who happen to be lesbian partners, as well as private investigators.  Together they try to figure out who would be inclined to commit such an offensive assault up on a well respected professor of a prominent college.  They spend endless hours remembering who might have a reason to inflict the torture of the kidnapping of her beloved husband.

The search focuses on the few that could be imagined as having any sort of animosity toward the Fansler family.  Kate and her friend Harriet finally narrow it down to someone who was jealous of her in high school, but it seems totally absurd.  She adopts a St. Bernard puppy dog to give her reason to visit the daughter of this white liberal woman who may have a grudge against her.  This dog goes on to tell her much more than she and her friends could find out on their own.

The conclusion of this novel surprised me and beckoned me to read more of Amanda Cross’ exciting mystery novels.

Literally, Paul

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