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Last Chants

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Lia Matera’s latest Willa Jansson mystery boasts an energetic, though improbable, setup: San Francisco attorney Jansson comes to the rescue of an elderly, gun-toting family friend, whose assistant — a shaman named Billy Seawuit — has just been murdered. Suspects include Willa’s septuagenarian pal, the head of a local tech company who hired Seawuit as a consultant and his Amazonian wife, and, oh yes, the demigod Pan. It ends up being much ado about little, all set to a loopy New Age beat (get ready for drumming-induced vision questing). The real pleasure is Willa, who alternates between humor and annoyance at her predicament — and whose love-hate relationship with men strikes a chord with many female fans. If only the plot of Last Chants was as easy to buy. B-