Cover image for Murder among strangers : a Kate Austen mystery
Murder among strangers : a Kate Austen mystery
Jacobs, Jonnie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Kensington, [2000]

Physical Description:
378 pages ; 19 cm
General Note:
"Partners in crime"--Spine.
Format :


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

On Order



Jonnie Jacobs's Kate Austen mysteries have been published to critical acclaim and been praised as "taking suburban mystery to new heights" (The Tulsa World). Now, in "Murder Among Strangers", Kate tackles her most involving case yet -- a crime in which she's not only the investigator, but also the victim.

Kate Austen has trouble walking away from people in need. It's a habit that's landed her in some tight spots -- and this time it's the narrow confines of the trunk of a murderer's car. Tied up and lying next to a corpse, Kate realized too late that stopping to help a woman with a flat tire was a very bad idea. Now, her only hope for survival is a desperate run for freedom from the cabin her captors have taken her to in the snowy Idaho wilderness. And when she is rescued hours later, disoriented, rambling, and half-frozen, she's thankful that the nightmare is over.

What she doesn't know is that it's only beginning. For the police have discovered a second body at the cabin, and the evidencepoints to Kate. Determined to find the real killer, she sets out to clear her name. But when another corpse appears, this time back in Walnut Hills, and the finger of suspicion is aimed at Kate again, she finds herself running out of time. For now, she must scramble to outwit a cunning murderer who's determined to frame her and continue on a killing spree that may very well end with her life.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

These two mysteries exemplify a growing trend: the cozy procedural, in which elements of traditional cozies are melded with the carefully detailed police procedural. Joan Hess' Maggody novels established the prototype, but numerous others have followed in her wake. Cannon's Guns and Roses is a first novel in a series featuring Roxanne Prescott, a former Texas police officer traumatized by the shooting death of her partner. Roxanne is now working as a tour guide for the Irish Eyes Travel Agency, but crime finds her anyway. On a southern history and gardens tour, Roxanne's group is plagued by various unsettling incidents, culminating in a murder in colonial Williamsburg. The tour-guide premise allows Cannon the opportunity to salt the tale with all manner of colorful background, from southern history to details about the American Girl doll series. Whereas Cannon combines procedural know-how and cozy surroundings in one character, Jacobs, in Murder among Strangers, the fourth Kate Austen mystery, uses the familiar gambit of an amateur sleuth who happens to have a cop friend. Jacobs adds a wrinkle of her own, however, by alternating the narration between Kate, a Bay Area mother and teacher, and her boyfriend, Michael, a police lieutenant. This time the plot finds Kate swept into a kidnapping that bleeds into three murders--with the killer willing to frame or kill Kate to escape capture. Police officers and procedures are integral to each book's pace and plot. At the same time, the cozy ambience provides the mood. Unlike many cozies, however, where the police ignore or grudgingly accept an amateur sleuth, here pros and amateurs work amicably together. Both of these novels will appeal to the same hybrid audience: readers who like their cozies well grounded in reality as well as those who prefer procedurals without the hard-boiled edge. --John Rowen

Publisher's Weekly Review

The fourth Kate Austen mystery (after Murder Among Us) will delight fans of the Walnut Hills, Calif., artist and bring new ones into the fold. When Kate stops in a downpour to help a frightened young woman alone in a car missing a rear wheel, she pays a harrowing price. The woman, Sheryl Ann, protests that her friend Bobby, the car's owner, will soon be back with a spare. Kate opens the trunk, where she sees a dead body just as Bobby returns. Bobby knocks Kate out, throws her in the trunk with the corpse and drives them all to a hunting cabin in the Idaho wilderness. Kate manages to escape home to California, only to learn that the police have found Bobby dead in the cabin, but no trace of Sheryl Ann. Suddenly, Kate is the chief suspect in Bobby's murder, unless she can find Sheryl Ann and have the woman clear her. Michael, Kate's police-detective lover, comes to her defense, but he has personal problems at work as well as a full caseload of his own. Determined to absolve herself and discover who killed Bobby and why, Kate finds that her chief clue is an unidentified locker key sent to her by Sheryl Ann, perhaps unlocking the mystery to Bobby's past. Jacobs provides more than a few breathtaking surprises before wrapping up this heart-pounding story. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved