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This week I read a nifty murder mystery/police thriller by Barbara Paul called Kill Fee. (It’s out-of-print, hence the Alibris link instead of my usual Amazon link.) The story presents a neat twist on the idea of “murder for hire”: a killer only known as Pluto identifies a person who would greatly benefit by the untimely death of another person. Pluto then waits until the “client” has an undeniable alibi, at which point he kills the victim. Then, once the client has benefitted by the unexpected slaying of their nemesis, Pluto sends them a bill: “For Services Rendered: One Murder, timed to your trip to ______. Balance Due: $100,000.” And Pluto always collects his fee. This is an exciting page-turner, a fascinating game of cat-and-mouse with sharply drawn characters and a brisk pace. I did find the novel’s ending too rushed and a bit of a let-down, but the trip to that point is amazingly enjoyable.

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