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Hard Road, A Cat Marsala Mystery

D'Amato, Barbara
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Scribner, New York

Cat Marsala, the hard-working Chicago reporter, returns in this ninth entry in D'Amato's series. This time she's got plenty of company--what seems like the entire cast of characters from the magical world of Oz created by L. Frank Baum. In a pleasant diversion that reads more like an homage to Baum than a mystery novel, Cat tracks down the unknown assailant who disrupted the annual Grant Park Oz Festival by killing its security chief and attempting to murder the reporter herself. Or is it Cat's young nephew, whose father (Cat's brother Barry) is the director of the event, who is the target of the killer? Torn between family loyalty and her duty to tell the police exactly what she witnessed between the dead man and her brother, Cat unwittingly lands Barry right in the prime suspect seat. So it's up to her to get him out of it by finding the real killer and, not so incidentally, treating the reader to a guided tour of the marvelous mind of one of the most beloved children's authors of all time. Oz fans will have a field day; others may be drawn to the world of the Emerald City for the first time and discover that as long as Baum's books endure, it will never be too late to have a happy childhood.

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