THE STRAWBERRY TATTOO

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9780099278436: THE STRAWBERRY TATTOO

Sam Jones, sculptress and reluctant sleuth, can't resist the opportunity to do Manhattan when she's invited to New York for a group show at a gallery featuring young British artists. New York, loud and brash as Sam herself, welcomes her with open arms and plenty of her favorite margaritas. She's even reunited with Kim, a best friend from childhood who's transformed herself into a quintessential New Yorker, complete with weekly spinning classes and an East Village studio apartment. Despite Sam's promise to stay out of trouble, however, trouble keeps finding he -- one of the gallery's employees is found strangled in Central Park's Strawberry Fields not long after Sam arrives, and the gallery itself has been trashed with graffiti.

While Sam's new Manhattan friends pop Prozac and fret about the police investigation, the rest of the young Brits turn up in New York, including the one Sam drunkenly groped in a club not so long ago. Will the exhibition be a success? Will Sam's current boyfriend -- the dashing actor Hugo -- find out about her moment of abandon? And will the details of the strawberry tattoo give away the murderer's identity before Sam herself becomes a target?

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Review:

If Bridget Jones could sculpt--well, forget it. Bridget and Sam Jones, Lauren Henderson's snappy artist heroine, share only surface similarities. They're young, English, and sexy, but Sam has a better sense of humor--dead-on and wicked--and a better wardrobe, which runs mostly to latex. In her third U.S.-published adventure after Black Rubber Dress and Freeze My Margarita, she lands in lower Manhattan with her first group show at an important gallery in SoHo. But the natives seem restless. First someone trashes the work of another gallery artist, the unpleasant (and according to Sam, untalented) stepmother of her girlhood pal, and then two of the gallery's employees are garroted to death. Sam is still suffering from culture shock. It's her first trip to New York, and her sardonic asides on Manhattan's unique denizens are worth the plot-skimpy narrative. But when she gets a bead on the killer, she finds herself too close for comfort to the deadly wire.

Sam goes to extremes--in her dress, sex life, and drug use--but she's as cheeky as a London tabloid. New readers will want to track down her previous books, in which she's on her home turf. If you liked Absolutely Fabulous, you'll love Strawberry Tattoo. And if you're looking for other independent-minded female sleuths like Henderson's Sam Jones, Sparkle Hayter's Robin Hudson, Katy Munger's Casey Jones, and Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan, check out Tartcity.com, a Web site devoted to tart noir, a genre composed of "neofeminist women, half Philip Marlowe, half femme fatale, who make their own rules, who think it's entirely possible to save the world while wearing a drop-dead dress and stiletto heels." --Jane Adams

From the Back Cover:

"Lauren Henderson is a star whose words, wit, and style are razor sharp. The only thing she can't do is write these books fast enough to keep me happy."
-- Linda Fairstein, author of Cold Hit and Likely to Die

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