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He Was Her Man

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When it comes to Southern, Shankman can write. In He Was Her Man, her detective, Samantha Adams, calls the dress code at an Arkansas beauty queen’s party “Marie Antoinette or stay home.” Shankman’s other Southerners are a joy too. There’s gorgeous grifter Mickey, Beretta-packing senior citizen Loydell, screechy, big-haired blond Jinx, and Doc, the man you love to hate. They’re all so delicious that the story (involving con artists who stumble into murder) sometimes becomes an afterthought. In the obligatory gutsy-detective-gets-beat-up scene, Samantha is kidnapped, interrogated, and taught to box — a gripping sequence, but logic-free. It’s fun watching women who hate each other give greetings like “Come here and let me hug your necks!” but mysteries need consistent plots, too. B-

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