TAFFY CANNON – A Pocket Full of Karma. Nan Robinson #1. Carroll & Graf, hardcover, 1993. Reprint paperback: Fawcett Crest, 1995. This is Cannon’s first mystery, though she has had one novel published previously.


   Nan Robinson is an investigator with the State Bar of California, single and in her late thirties. She is surprised when a letter arrives at the office for her ex-secretary, Debra, who hadn’t worked there in three years.

   More puzzling still, it was from her mother. Nan and her secretary were from the same town, and though they had never been close friends, Nan feels guilty for not having kept better track of her.

   She decides to deliver the letter in person, but finds an empty house, with signs that the woman had vanished rather abruptly. Her curiosity aroused, she begins to try to track her down, and discovers that she has been working for a firm specializing in hypnotic regression to past incarnations.

   Just to complicate things, Nan finds herself attracted strangely to one of the owners of the firm. But what’s happened to Debra, and where is she?

   We know where Debra is, or at least what happened to her, because the book opens with a couple of pages from the mind of the killer. There are several other such interludes, though the rest of the story is told third-person from Nan’s viewpoint.

   This is a competently told first mystery, with only a few unlikely aspects to the plot. Nan is a likable enough character, though in all honesty not someone who really grabbed my attention or enlisted my sympathies.

   One saving grace is that she doesn’t fall in love with a cop. All told, this is a decent if not exceptional book, making it better than many.

— Reprinted from Ah, Sweet Mysteries #10, November 1993.

      The Nan Robinson series —

    A Pocketful of Karma. Carroll & Graf, hc, 1993.
    Tangled Roots. Carroll & Graf, hc, 1995.


    Class Reunions Are Murder. Gold Medal, pb, 1996.