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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Framed by Nancy Springer

Framed by Nancy Springer
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (13 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

For picture framer Veronica Phillips, the most dangerous thing that happens to her on a typical day is a sheet of glass breaking or getting cut by an errant wire. When a key comes out of the back of a picture she's redoing, Ronnie soon finds herself mixed up in dark warehouses, dead bodies and harsh scrutiny by the local police for getting mixed up in the crime. Can Ronnie prove her innocence in the murder case, or will she end up being framed?

What would you do if you found a key that had been carefully hidden in a picture frame? How far would you go to unravel the mystery behind it?

With only thirteen pages to work with there’s a limited amount of space that Ms. Springer could allocate to getting to know these characters in depth but somehow I walked away feeling as if Veronica, Officer Llewellyn, Lois and Ron were individuals I’d easily recognize if we were to run into one another on the street.

Puns were used just sparingly enough that I savoured each one and the dialogue flowed so smoothly it felt as if I was eavesdropping on someone else’s life. More than once a surprising turn of phrase made me smile and savor certain passages before moving on to the next paragraph. While it wasn’t what I had been expecting the ending fit in nicely with the tone established earlier as well.

Framed includes all of the elements of a great story but unfortunately they never quite came together satisfactorily. A decision from Veronica’s past that is referenced about halfway through this tale conflicts with other information we’re given about her character. I didn’t understand why her reactions to similarly mysterious events would vary so much in the span of a few months. After reading it again some of the confusion cleared up but I still wished more time had been spent explaining why she’d changed so much in such a short period of time.

Despite these issues Framed is the perfect choice for anyone in the mood for a mystery that will keep them guessing until the end.

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