The Temporary Detective by Joanne Sydney Lessner

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The Temporary Detective by Joanne Sydney Lessner
Publisher: Dulcet Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: Full (274 pgs)
Rated: 4.5 Stars
Review by Poppy

Phones, light typing…and murder.

Think breaking into show business is hard? Try landing a temp job without office skills. That’s the challenge facing aspiring actress Isobel Spice when she arrives in New York City, fresh out of college and deficient in PowerPoint. After being rejected by seven temp agencies for her lack of experience, Isobel sweet-talks recruiter James Cooke into letting her cover a last-minute vacancy at a bank. New to his own job, and recently sober, James takes a chance on Isobel, despite his suspicion that she’s a trouble-magnet. His misgivings are borne out by lunchtime, when she stumbles across a dead secretary in a bathroom stall. With her fingerprints on the murder weapon, Isobel sets out to prove her innocence by investigating the crime herself. While learning to juggle phone lines and auditions, she discovers an untapped talent for detective work–a qualification few other office temps, let alone actresses, can claim.

The Temporary Detective was the most fun I’ve had reading in quite some time! Isobel is such a hoot. She’s an interesting mix of naive and smart, with a mouth that sometimes forgets to close. From the moment she talked about her mishaps waiting tables as she was trying to get a temp job, I was hooked. James was a great character, too…though, honestly, even the secondary characters were really well created. I especially enjoyed Isobel’s brother.

The author has done a great job painting a picture with her words. Maybe some of the situations stretched my belief just a tad, but that’s to be expected in a cozy mystery, I think. After all, how many temps do you know who find a body during a fire drill and then manage to somehow solve the mystery while juggling the job and trying to get a foot in the door on Broadway?

I chuckled and smiled through most of this book. That’s not to say there weren’t serious parts as well. For instance, James is struggling with an alcohol problem and desperately needs to keep his job (and Isobel isn’t making that very easy). He’s in a bad relationship, is attracted to Isobel (a skinny white girl and so not his type…) and really is just a teddy bear under all his bluster. Isobel takes good care of him (loved the part when she moved the wine out of his reach).

There were a few parts where things slowed a bit, but I adored the cast of characters so much, I never even though about stopping reading. In fact, the moment I finished, I grabbed book two and opened it up.

If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries with strong, individual characters who become your friends, then I recommend The Temporary Detective. I really enjoyed it!


  1. Thank you for hosting

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it so much.

  3. momjane says:

    I love books that make me giggle, and this review sounds as though this is a book I will love.

  4. Shannon says:

    I love the idea of Isobel, she seems like she could be my best friend

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  5. Catherine says:

    I love character-driven stories and your review indicates that’s just what The Temporary Detective offers. I also love quirky, interesting supporting characters. Thanks for the informative review.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  6. Great review! Glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  7. Thanks for the post and the giveaway!
    hense1kk (at) cmich (dot) edu

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