'Our Lady of Immaculate Deception'

'Our Lady' takes readers on a comic noir journey through the scrap yards and back alleys of the Steel City.

Genre writing—romance, science fiction, mystery, etc.—tends to get a bad rap at least among the literati. It’s seen as an inferior writing form because it often favors plot above character.

This, strangely, is not the case with the local mystery-writing population, which is expansive. I find it amazing just how many mystery writers reside in or chose to write about southwestern Pennsylvania. Every month, it seems a new mystery novel by a writer with Pittsburgh-area ties finds its way onto my desk. But what is perhaps most astonishing is the variety: Each writer harnesses his or her own distinctive voice and style and, above all, favors well-drawn character over a fast-paced, who-dunnit plot. (Don’t get me wrong; there’s still plenty of suspense in each book.)

Nancy Martin is on that list, and with numerous novels already under her belt, Martin may very well be the most prolific and zany of them all. Case in point: Our Lady of Immaculate Deception. Full of snappy dialogue and fun characters, Our Lady revolves around the very independent Roxy Abruzzo, a free-thinking tomboy with spunk and sex appeal who happens to be the niece of a Pittsburgh mafia boss.

Roxy would like nothing more than to live life (mostly) on the straight and narrow, and with her dim-witted sidekick, Nooch, she runs an architectural-salvage business. Problem is, when "she can’t help herself from tucking away an ancient Greek statue that’s not really hers, she pays for it by getting caught up in the chaos surrounding the sordid murder of the statue’s former owner, heir to a billion-dollar Pittsburgh steel fortune."

Featuring a motley crew of bluebloods and blue-collar Joes, Our Lady of Immaculate Deception takes readers on a comic noir journey through the scrap yards and back alleys of the Steel City. A perfect summer read, this one is certain to please longtime fans of Nancy Martin’s mysteries and to create some new ones, too.

Our Lady of Immaculate Deception by Nancy Martin; Minotaur Books; $24.99. 


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