A heroine with problems, attitude, and smarts…
Rhode Island Red is the first in Charlotte Carter’s short three-book mystery series featuring street-smart (and also just plain smart) Nanette Hayes as the protagonist. Nan has a degree from Wellesley in French, with a minor in Music, that, as she describes it, was “scholarship all the way”. Now she’s trying to find her own path doing some translating jobs and busking on the street as a side gig. All of which gets turned upside-down when she gives another street musician a place to crash for a night, and he turns up dead on her floor. And then he turns out to have been an undercover cop. And Nanette gets pulled right into the middle of it all.
Rhode Island Red, which was first published almost twenty years ago, is still is an enjoyable read. In between the musical references and Nan’s attitude, both of which are right up front, there’s also a sweet little mystery. Who, or what, is Rhode Island Red, and how was the undercover cop involved? And there’s also some social commentary that still feels timely today.
All-in-all, I enjoyed Rhode Island Red, although I found Carter’s writing style to be a little jarring (for lack of a better word) for my taste. Still, I liked everything else about the book, and writing styles are definitely personal taste, so Rhode Island Red gets four stars from me. Which, since I try to not give too many five-star reviews, is a solid “read this book” recommendation. And my thanks to Vintage Crime/Black Lizard and Net Galley for the review copy!