Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To Thine Own Self Be True by Judy Clemens

To Thine Own Self Be True is a story of revenge.

Stella Crown is in the midst of getting a tattoo when the tattoo artist Wolf and his wife Mandy are called out of the tattoo parlor.  

Someone kills Mandy and kidnaps Wolf.

Stella, the owner of a Pennsylvania dairy farm, pursues the murderer, working through a series of suspects.

All the time, Stella deals with a huge snow storm, the unexpected visit of an old flame, and the day-to-day ins and outs of running a dairy farm.  She works with the police and other tattoo artists to find the killer/kidnapper.

Without Stella, the police would have no inside track when it comes to talking to tattoo artists who, for the most part, aren't cop-friendly.  

If you want to learn more about tattoo artists or dairy farms, this is the book to use to do it.  Clemens wraps all the details of these two occupations in an interesting mystery story.  And the mystery story is wrapped around at least two love stories, one for Stella's live-in helper Lucy, and the other for Stella herself.

My only reservation about Stella is that she is so self-absorbed.  She thinks everything revolves around her, and she sees some reason to feel personally guilty for everything that happens to her.  Listen to this little bit of dialog--


"I wish I had more to tell you," [Stella] said.  "Give you more to go on."

[The police woman] waved her hand.  "No, no.  You're not responsible for giving me leads."

Just for leaving Mandy out in the snow and allowing Wolf to be kidnapped, [Stella thought].


Stella didn't do the killing or the kidnapping, and she had little reason to know it was happening, yet she blames herself.  And she does that over and over again in all kinds of situations.  

The story occurs during the Christmas season.

This is the third in the Stella Crown stories.  Poisoned Pen Press published it in 2006.  The book refers to the back stories in the other books, and I am almost certain there have been more Stella Crown books after this one.

I picked up this book just because I was leafing through the publisher's list, and this book looked interesting.  It was.

This book was published by:  Poisoned Pen Press

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