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Hot summer for suspense
Last year's This Dame for Hire, by Sandra Scoppettone, was one of the most originalif not the most originalprivate eye novels of 2005. The second installment, Too Darn Hot, is now available. Plucky heroine Faye Quick plies her trade in WWII Manhattan, circa 1943. Her somewhat better-trained boss has been drafted, leaving instructions "not to run the business into the ground" while he is gone. Still, what Quick lacks in experience she more than makes up for with moxie and grit, and her voice is unique in modern-day crime fiction: "Yeah, it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. I never could understand why people said that. Did somebody fry one then eat it? Who'd want to eat a fried egg from the sidewalk? Especially in a city like New York. Maybe I'd try it. Not the eating part, the frying. But then people would think I am more of a screwball than they did already." Screwball or not, Quick is sharp as a tack, vulnerable without being a pushover, romantic but more than a bit skeptical about the motivations of the men in her life. Author Scoppettone has also written another successful series, featuring lesbian P.I. Lauren Laurano, as well as the cult classic children's novel Suzuki Beane.