EDNA BUCHANAN – Miami, It’s Murder. Britt Montero #2. Hyperion, hardcover, January 1994. Avon, paperback, 1995.

   Buchanan’s first Montero, Contents Under Pressure, got a lot of good press, though I liked it less than most because of a to me unbelievable plot.


   [In Miami, It’s Murder, the city] is plagued by a serial rapist. Britt is doing the story, and has annoyed the police by printing information they wanted withheld. At the same time, a friend of hers on the police department is being forced into retirement because of a bad heart, and he is agonizing over cases he never broke.

   One was the 20-year-ago sexual murder of a young girl. He was convinced of the guilt of a young man who is now a grown politician running for governor, but could find no evidence. Britt decides to dig into the old case and see what she can find.

   She continues to write about the rapist, and begins to get threatening letters from him. A series of deaths begin to occur, some seemingly accidental, some not, all involving people who were suspected of old murders but never convicted. Not surprisingly, all three situations — rapist, politician, murders — are eventually resolved.

   As with the first book, the narration is excellent, the writing fast-paced and effective. Again, too, there are plot elements that won’t wash. Britt’s acceptance of her cop friend’s assertion of the politician’s guilt without any real evidence makes either her or the author just plain foolish; as does her eagerness to personally offend the man without even her paper’s knowledge or concurrence.

   More so than in the first novel, she often acts foolishly. But the main problem I have with the book is that it (and Montero) ethically offended me. I can’t go into reasons without giving away the plot, so I’ll just say neither she nor the author seem to have the same ethical values that I do. No go, Montero.

— Reprinted from Ah, Sweet Mysteries #8, July 1993.

Bibliographic Notes:   In spite of Barry’s clearly stated misgivings, Miami, It’s Murder was nominated for an Edgar in 1995.

   For more on the author, a visit to her Wikipedia page may suffice: “As one of the first female crime journalists in Miami, she wrote for the Miami Beach Daily Sun and the Miami Herald as a general assignment and police-beat reporter. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for general reporting.” She is also the author or co-author of 17 crime novels, including the nine Britt Montero novels listed below.

   For even more, check out the author’s own website. There’s much of interest there.

      The Britt Montero series —

1. Contents Under Pressure (1992)


2. Miami, It’s Murder (1994)
3. Suitable for Framing (1995)
4. Act of Betrayal (1996)


5. Margin of Error (1997)
6. Garden of Evil (1999)
7. You Only Die Twice (2001)
8. The Ice Maiden (2002)
9. Love Kills (2007)