Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

The great thing about the Australian Crime Fiction scene these days is there is a book for just about every sort of reader.  THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING MASTERPIECE (and the earlier book THE CURSE OF THE GOLDEN YO-YO) are the sort of books that may appeal to people who like their crime on the lighter side, their romance on the slightly chaotic side, their humour on the overt side, and their clothes on the designer / name side.  It won't hurt if you fancy those food porn style descriptions that make you drool into your toast and jam as well.

In the MYSTERY OF THE MISSING MASTERPIECE, Private Investigator Cornelia Finnigan is back - recovering rapidly from her tangle with the novice nun, her brother Jeremy buys her a little token feel better gift (and paints her bathroom purple - but that's another story).  Whilst Cornelia is trying to get back to real work - tailing plastic surgeons with a little more than wandering eyes and checking out a rather odd house burglary, she also finds herself having to sort out why lurking men seem to be very desperate to get their hands on her brothers trinket.

Most of the characters from the first book are back in MASTERPIECE (although I confess I'm worried that Kissiface, the Rottweiler, does have to cross his legs a lot and he never seems gets fed - to say nothing of poor Groucho!), but Riley is still trying to hint a bit of romantic interest in Cornelia (he might be better if he hit her over the head with the Cadbury Roses chocolates), Isobel still needs feeding up and Romeo has left the scene.  Cornelia's father seems to have adapted very well to getting a house cleaner and having to look after himself a little more, and Cornelia is now more than ensconced in her inner-city apartment.

Of course this isn't a serious crime novel.  It's light and downright silly in places and way too littered with designer clothes labels for those of us who think that Jimmy Choo's are probably model train sets; but those elements will undoubtedly appeal to lovers of the lighter, reading for pure entertainment style.

It's interesting that The Five Mile Press specialise in children's books, adult non-fiction and Australiana.  They've done a tremendous job with the presentation of the Cornelia Finnigan books, the cover artwork is extremely stylish.  Let's hope that they are looking to pick up more and different Australian Crime Fiction!

If you can - start in order with THE CURSE OF THE GOLDEN YO-YO, although THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING MASTERPIECE will work as an introduction to our latest luckiest femme fatale PI and her slightly lunatic, inner-city chaotic chic life and full cast of supporting characters.

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Cornelia Finnigan, the loudest, loveliest and luckiest PI, is back - smarter, brighter and funnier than ever.

Having recovered from her near fatal run-in with a novice nun, Cornelia is the lucky recipient of a stunning porcelain horse.  Funny that it looks just like the one the Triads appear to be murderously searching for....

Hilarious antics ensue as a plastic surgeon's after-hours consultations are uncovered, followed by a late-night pursuit of a shifty courier that leaves our heroine dangerously dangling.  It all adds up to a rollicking good read.

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