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Ultraviolet (Jane Kelly Mysteries)
by Nancy Bush

Published: 2007-10-01
Hardcover : 288 pages
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For process server-turned-private investigator, Jane Kelly, weddings are murder. Usually that's a metaphor, but for newly minted P.I. Jane Kelly, it's fast becoming an all-too-accurate nightmare. Roland Hatchmere, plastic surgery magnate, has been found murdered just before his daughter's ...
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Introduction

For process server-turned-private investigator, Jane Kelly, weddings are murder. Usually that's a metaphor, but for newly minted P.I. Jane Kelly, it's fast becoming an all-too-accurate nightmare. Roland Hatchmere, plastic surgery magnate, has been found murdered just before his daughter's society wedding. The weapon is a wedding gift: a heavy, silver serving tray. The prime suspect is Roland's ex-wife #2: Violet "Ultraviolet" Purcell, she of the eccentric-bordering-on-insane Purcell clan.

Violet insists that she's completely innocent. After all, Roland was her absolute favorite ex-husband. And she was nowhere NEAR him at the time of the murder. Well, okay, technically she did meet him for a little pre-nup, bedroom tête-à-tête just before. And they did have a huge fight. And she did hit him with the tray. But just once. Honest. So could Jane just hurry up and prove her innocence? Sure. That should be easy. Let's just file this one under "12 Kinds of Crazy." But when Jane's boss, the temporarily sidelined Dwayne, is convinced Violet's telling the truth, well, there's nothing for Jane to do but take her lovable, misfit pug, Binky, and sniff out a few clues.

Everywhere Jane and The Binkster look, there's a suspect odder than the last, including two grown, very troubled kids, an ex-wife strung out on Botox and a current wife who's a cross between Donna Reed and a sex kitten--all of them eager to blame Roland's death on Violet. It doesn't help that Violet's story keeps changing faster than a celebrity's hair extensions. To make matters worse, Dwayne's convalescence is turning him into Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window," complete with binoculars, and he's convinced there is something very bad going down in the private houses across Lakewood Bay, something that needs Jane and Binky's close attention. Faster than she can say, "I took criminology courses for this?", Jane is up to her eyeballs in lies, secrets, Extreme Botox, New Wave bands, truck-stop coffee kiosks (don't ask), very good scones, Junior League, wedding bandits, high school sociopaths, Plastic Pet Cemetery (don't ask, part II), a budding attraction to her boss, the Millionaire's Club, and someone who would kill to keep the past buried.

The deeper Jane digs, the less she wants to know. Every truth leads her deeper into danger, and soon, Jane wonders if her first official case might also be her last...and if the client she's been asked to clear just might be the coldest black widow of all...

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Excerpt

Chapter One

I had mere seconds to get out of the bedroom. There was no bolt for the door and no escape back the way I’d entered. I stood frozen, my hands useless appendages in front of me, my frantic heartbeats a roaring surf in my ears. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

1. Jane Kelly is an off-the-wall character. What personality qualities does she possess that make her perfect to be a private investigator?

2. Reviewers have compared Nancy Bush to mystery heavyweights Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich. What qualities in Nancy’s mystery writing inspired the reviewers to make these comparisons?

3. Before she wrote mysteries, Nancy was a breakout writer for a major TV soap opera. How do you think this plotting think tank experience contributed to Nancy’s skill as a mystery novelist?

4. What role does Jane Kelly’s pug, The Binkster, play in Ultraviolet? Has anyone ever dropped off a dog for you to house temporarily, and the dog wriggled his or her way into your heart? Tell the story!

5.The Purcell family is eccentric bordering on insane. What Purcell family member do you like most and why?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

A note from the author to book clubs:

I've heard over and over how much readers love the character of Jane Kelly. It's probably the most universal comment I receive on the series. Jane is what drives the stories. She's imperfect but smart and can step up to a task, even if she's reluctant to do so. Her recognition of her own faults—and thinking she's more than okay anyway (and luckily her pug, The Binkster, thinks she's perfect!)—seems to be the feature everyone responds to. People want to know her. They wish they could meet her and be her friend. I want readers to keep liking Jane and keep wanting to see more of her. The truth is, I like Jane, too. She makes me laugh as I'm writing her. In Ultraviolet she gets to strut her stuff and show her off her mad skills! I many ways, it's all about Jane.

I had a blast writing the second in the series, Electric Blue, which is the book that introduced the crazy Purcell family. Violet was always in the back of my mind as a central figure/possible villain. When Violet showed up Electric Blue, she seemed to leap off the page. She's such a morally ambivalent character, and anything can happen when she's around. I actually fitted the main plot of Ultraviolet around her. The secondary plot, which involves Dwayne's spying across the lake, also came out of Electric Blue, since that's where he became injured. This setup gave Jane a chance to be the lead investigator in Ultraviolet, which was critical to her development as a true private detective.

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