Not So Innocent
Laura Lee Guhrke
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Not So Innocent
Laura Lee Guhrke
Pocket Books
384 pages
November 2002
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Michael "Mick" Dunbar is an Inspector with turn-of-the-century Londonís Metropolitan Police working out of Scotland Yard. Heís just turned thirty-six and thinks his friends are playing a joke on him when a young woman comes into the station to report a murder Ė a murder that has not happened yet. Even more strangely, she insists Mick is the intended target of the murder she foresaw in a dream. Mick, naturally, laughs her out of the police station, but his humor ends when someone does try to kill him on his way home.

Completely denying the possibility that Miss Sophie Haversham truly does have a psychic ability, Mick dismisses the possibility but is still determined to find out who is behind the attempt on his life. To Sophieís surprise and consternation, the police detective takes a room in her auntís rooming house so that he can explore every aspect of her life. But Mick gets more than he bargained for when he takes on the slightly ditzy, sometimes quirky and always thoroughly enjoyable Miss Haversham. Added to the mix is a houseful of wickedly eccentric characters, from Sophieís aunt, who believes she is the reincarnation of Cleopatra and a kleptomaniac to boot, to several elderly women who hold weekly sťances.

In danger of losing his wits and his heart to the young miss, Mick must keep both of them out of harmís way until the threat against him, and ultimately against Sophie, is lifted - an endeavor that proves more dangerous than either of them could have imagined -- especially since Mick stubbornly refuses to heed her repeated warnings of danger and mayhem.

Laura Lee Guhrke has written a delightful yet intensely satisfying mystery of late 1800ís London. In Sophie, she has created an unusual character who must deal with prejudice and mistrust for a great part of the story. In Mick, she has crafted a man who longs for a woman to call his own, but whose own lofty standards need to be taken down a peg or two. She adds oodles of atmosphere with her sights, smells and sounds of dark London streets by night and Scotland Yard by day. Tolerance and acceptance is subtly woven throughout the plot, which twists and turns until the reader is giddy with anticipation to identify the person behind the attempted murder of Mick and the gruesome murder of his fellow officers before itís too late. Guhrke has also written two previous novels, Breathless and The Charade, and this reader, for one, looks forward to many more from this gifted author.

© 2003 by Denise M. Clark for Curled Up With a Good Book

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