Linda Barnes is undoubtedly best known for her series of seven novels featuring the Boston-based private eye and part-time taxi cab driver Carlotta Carlyle.
Barnes followed Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton in the new tradition of strong, independent women operatives whose smart mouths and quick wits are their most powerful weapons.
Well-plotted and pacily written, the Carlyle books are distinguished by their heroine’s ability to call on a nexus of close friends and sometimes lovers to assist in her investigations when she has more than she can comfortably handle.
Over time, the reader comes to care as much for several subsidiary characters as for the Carlyle character.
Pick of the series are The Snake Tattoo and Snapshot. Barnes, who has won several US awards, has also written a less successful series featuring actor and wine connoisseur Michael Spraggue.
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