Cover image for Smoke screen
Smoke screen
Macdonald, Marianne.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 1999.
Physical Description:
255 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"Thomas Dunne Books."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



When Dido Hoare, antiquarian bookseller and amateur sleuth, offers to buy a collection belonging to an eccentric Oxford woman, she soon finds herself entangled in the loves and hatreds of the extraordinary Templeton family. Then the old woman is killed, and the valuable manuscript of an unpublished poem by a famous American is discovered in Dido's possession.

Oxford CID seem convinced that Dido was a thief, or worse: and it takes all her courage, and the sharp eyes and wits of her father, retired Professor Barnabas Hoare, to save her from the grip of the law -- and of the killer.

Author Notes

Marianne MacDonald was born on July 9, 1934 in Canada. She is a children's books author and novelist best known for her mystery series featuring London antiques bookstore owner and amateur investigator Dido Hoare. The title's in her Dido Hoare Series .include: Death's Autograph, Ghost Walk, Blood Lies, Three Monleys and Faking It. Her children's book titles include Black Base Rock, The Witch Repair, and Dragon for Sale.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Dido Hoare, the owner of an antiquarian bookshop in London and the single mother of infant Ben, always seems a few steps behind as she lurches from crisis to crisis, relying on her unflappable father, Barnabas, and on her baby-sitter, Phyllis. On the other hand, she has let her shop assistant talk her into putting the catalog online, and the Internet supplies a crucial clue in this improbable but thoroughly enjoyable cozy. Like Dido, the story lurches from place to place, London to Oxford, where an odd family wants to sell a book collection and possibly a manuscript or two. The family's matriarch dies in a spectacular house fire, with Dido present; when it turns out to be murder, and a lost manuscript appears in Dido's possession, she is in deep trouble. This series is best when concentrating on the bewitching minutiae of the book trade--in this case, who would kill for an unpublished manuscript? A natural for bibliophile mystery fans who enjoy John Dunning's Cliff Janeway series. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Dido Hoare's third adventure (following Death Autograph and Ghost Walk) firmly establishes her as a delightfully cerebral sleuth. The London antiquarian bookseller faces the perils and pitfalls of a flaky customer at an Oxford book fair. Clare Templeton Forbes, sarcastically referred to as "Her Majesty," is well known toÄand avoided byÄOxford booksellers. When she offers Dido an opportunity to look at some books she has for sale, Dido accepts, even though colleagues warn her to avoid Clare's tantalizing offers. Soon Clare has swept Dido into a bizarre household consisting of Clare; her daughter, Georgina Laszlo; granddaughter Gina; and an American scholar named Jay Roslin. What keeps Dido associating with such characters is a house full of extraordinary books, plus a prime collection of materials from the late poet Orrin Forbes, Clare's lover and Georgina's father. What follows is a macabre dance as Dido tries to sort through the books, the tangled question of their ownership and the minefield of relationships in the household. Trouble of a different order, however, finds Dido after Her Majesty is killed and the bookseller becomes the prime suspect. Macdonald brings a refreshing blend of book lore, romance, quirky characters and a first-rate puzzle to the venerable predicament of an amateur sleuth who must exonerate herself. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

While negotiating for a collection of old and rare books, London antiquarian bookseller Dido Hoare (Ghost Walk, 1998) runs afoul of a decidedly dysfunctional family. The potential seller, once lover to a noted (but second-rank) deceased poet, also owns a number of valuable manuscripts, but there is some doubt as to her right to sell them. When someone frames Dido for the seller's murder, Dido and her father race to prove her innocence. Wonderful British surroundings, details of single-motherhood and keeping shop, and the vagaries of a dead poet all add to this title's draw. Strongly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.