Targets in Ties is the latest Secret Sisters mystery by Tristi Pinkston. Each book in this humorous mystery series stands alone and is filled with fun as three elderly women led by their fearless leader Ida Mae Babbitt, set out to resolve a dangerous mystery. Targets in Ties takes the intrepid trio to Mexico where they have a two week sight-seeing vacation planned before picking up Ida Mae’s nephew just as he finishes his LDS mission.
All starts well with a flight to Cancun and a visit to Chichen Itza, though the sight-seeing is hot and exhausting. Of course it’s hard to stay focused on being tourists when Ida Mae catches a glimpse of an international antiquities thief, Manuel Gonzales. The ladies try hard to follow their itinerary, but their plans get complicated when first Ida Mae is kidnapped, followed by the abduction of the other two ladies. Their abductor tells them he is innocent and needs their help to trap the real thief. They agree to help, but harbor lingering doubts concerning the man they’re helping. The man Manuel claims is the real thief gives them plenty of reasons to distrust him, but fails to fall for the trap they set to catch him. Then there’s a suspicious woman who seems to show up wherever they go.
Being in a foreign country where they don’t speak the language, attempting to keep to their time schedule, and the disappearance of a valuable necklace entrusted to them, being shot at, and not knowing who to trust or turn to keeps the excitement level high. The nephew, Ren, and his companion find themselves embroiled in the adventure as well.
Ida Mae and her friends, Arlette and Tansy, don’t change a lot through the book or from book to book. Their characters are quite firmly set, but they’re unpredictable, curious, and innovative. Their dialog is clever and humorous. It fits them perfectly. The plot rolls along from one disaster to the next and the ladies are quite ingenious at finding solutions to their predicaments. Ren provides some funny lines as well with his avid addiction to movies and ability to quote lines from his favorites.
The plot is convoluted and fast paced with the action and dialog providing humor as much as mystery and suspense. My only criticism of this light, fun read is the occasional lapse into allowing the point of view character to see more than is humanly possibly such as the expression on her own face, a feat that can really only be accomplished with a mirror.
Tristi Pinkston is involved in several areas of book production. Not only is she the author of eight novels and a cookbook, but she does a great deal of freelance editing. A busy lady, she home schools her children, teaches an online writing class, blogs, and is a popular presenter at writing conferences. She, her husband, and their children live in Utah.
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TARGETS IN TIES, A SECRET SISTERS MYSTERY, by Tristi Pinkston, published by Walnut Springs Press, 245 pages, $16.99