Cover image for The masks of Auntie Laveau : a Gil and Claire Hunt mystery
The masks of Auntie Laveau : a Gil and Claire Hunt mystery
Randisi, Robert J.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
247 pages ; 22 cm
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When Claire Hunt is sent to host her home shopping program on location in the Big Easy she and her husband, Gil, cannot resist having him come along. A book dealer back home in St. Louis, Gil is eager for the chance to poke around in the French Quarter's shops. The food, the history, the mystique--all of it delights the couple . . . until they're meeting with the Voodoo Queen, Auntie Laveau. The strange woman presents the duo with a collection of miniature Mardi Gras masks, hoping Claire will sell them on the air during her show. However, when the real Auntie Laveau is found murdered the police begin an official investigation. As the Hunts unwittingly become entangled with Louisiana's supernatural subculture Gil finds himself embroiled in the search for a missing girl who may or may not become the next victim. As he, himself, becomes endangered Claire and her son, Paul, frantically search the French Quarter for her husband before he can become a victim of the Voodoo Queen as well. But wait. Auntie Laveau is dead-or is she?

Author Notes

Robert J. Randisi was a mystery writer who, in 1979, was asked to create a Western Series to be published by Charter Books. He created the Gunsmith Series, writing under the pseudonym J. R. Roberts, which he followed with a story in the Tracker Series as Tom Cutter and seven other western series under seven other pseudonyms. He has also written several Mystery stories as well.

Randisi is the author of over 400 novels, 40 short stories, has edited 25 anthologies and has written under 15 pseudonyms. He founded the Private Eye Writers of America and created the Shamus Award. He is co-founder of Mystery Scene Magazine and the American Crime Writer's League. Randisi has also the edited Mean Streets and the Private Eye Writers of America's newsletter. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southwest Mystery Convention and has been nomiated for the Shamus Award four times.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

St. Louis television personality Claire Hunt and her bookseller husband, Gil, travel to New Orleans to buy miniature Mardi Gras masks for their Home Shopping Mall program. Their first meeting with the artist who creates the masks (and claims to be a descendant of legendary Voodoo queen Marie Laveau) makes Claire suspicious. When the woman is murdered, the Hunts realize that they were dealing with an impostor. When a second woman is gravely injured, the Hunts find themselves helping the police investigate, which takes them deep into the Voodoo subculture of New Orleans. Life-threatening encounters ensue. The colorful New Orleans atmosphere and the appealing relationship between Gil and Claire help make up for a rather mundane plot. Working with coauthor Matthews, Randisi, best known for his hard-boiled Nick Delvecchio and Miles Jacoby novels, shows a softer side in this reasonably entertaining semi-cozy, which follows the series debut, Murder Is the Deal of the Day (1999). --Barbara Bibel

Publisher's Weekly Review

St. Louis-based amateur detectives Claire and Gil Hunt get mixed up in an intriguing mystery of murder, kidnapping and voodoo in their second outing (after 1999's Murder Is the Deal of the Day) from Randisi, author of the Joe Keough, Nick Delvecchio and Miles Jacoby series, and poet and playwright Matthews. A business trip for her TV show takes Claire and Gil to New Orleans, where the beignets are delicious and the music from Bourbon Street plays through the night. But the spell is broken when Claire's prospective client, a mask-maker who calls herself "Auntie Laveau," arranges to meet Claire in a historic graveyard and later turns up dead. Connected to Auntie Laveau by notes found at the victim's home, Claire and Gil reveal all they know to the authorities before going back to what they hope will be a normal life in St. Louis. When the New Orleans police ask them to return and identify a comatose woman, Gil embarks at his peril on a trip that will lead him further into the bizarre world of voodoo, which proves to be as much a part of the Big Easy as jazz, gumbo and Mardi Gras. Hexes, potions and spells interweave with vivid settings, two delightful sleuths and credible supporting characters, from Marie Laveau, the original Voodoo Queen, to her 21st-century counterparts. One can only hope that the concluding vow Claire and Gil make not to become involved in another mystery is short-lived. (Jan. 14) FYI: Randisi founded the Private Eye Writers of America and created the Shamus Award. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved