Death Turns a Trick by Julie Smith is in a series called “Rebecca Schwartz Mystery(ies).” I probably won’t read any more books in this series, but I will read more novels by Julie Smith. The Talba Wallis series novels are highly entertaining. I find her writing style very engaging. There is lots of humor that is not always subtle (like the title of this book) and the resolution to the mysteries presented usually have a satisfying twist. This particular novel dwells too much on the details of dresses and costumes worn on different occasions. There is way too much information for me on the quality of different cosmetics and the amounts of time spent preparing to meet different audiences. It’s just not my genre. But it may satisfy the more fashion-conscious reader.
Rebecca is an educated, cultured, well brought up woman who became a lawyer. The motivation was her dad who still practices law. One of her clients, Elena, runs a bordello co-op and has offered Rebecca a chance to attend a party and play piano at the house one night when it was rented for a private party. Rebecca accepts, thinking the experience would be a lark. When the party is raided, a possible collateral damage client, a sitting US Senator, must be freed from his restraints and spirited away before the cops find out his identity. Rebecca gives the senator a lift to where he wants to go, but then she gets arrested for a DUI, (driving under the influence) of alcohol. When Rebecca makes her phone call from the station house to Elena, she finds the police raid was a joke. They weren’t really cops, no one was in danger. Except one of the fake cops was a real cop.
After making bail, Rebecca returns to her apartment to find a corpse, the body of Kandi, one of Elena’s working girls. And the mystery begins. Who killed Kandi? What was the deal with 25 000 USD Rebecca found in a flower pot? What is the real identity of Kandi and what is her relationship with Parker? And why does Uncle Walter blush almost every time he has to meet with Rebecca?
There are mobsters and threats of mobsters. There are corrupt cops. There are ethical quandaries for officers of the court. And there is sort of a surprise ending. A cynical reader with a dark view of life might see it coming. I did not. There is hope (for my world perspective).