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Naked Once More (1989)

by Elizabeth Peters

Series: Jacqueline Kirby (4)

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7751023,703 (3.83)17
She may be a bestselling author, but ex-librarian Jacqueline Kirby's views on the publishing biz aren't fit to print. In fact, she's thinking of trading celebrity for serenity and a house far away from fiendish editors and demented fans when her agent whispers the only words that could ever make her stay: Naked in the Ice. Seven years ago, this blockbuster skyrocketed Kathleen Darcy to instant fame. Now the author's heirs are looking for a writer to pen the sequel. It's an opportunity no novelist in her right mind would pass up, and there's no doubting Jacqueline's sanity...until she starts digging through the missing woman's papers--and her past. Until she gets mixed up with Kathleen's enigmatic lover. Until a series of nasty accidents convince her much too late that someone wants to bring Jacqueline's story--and her life--to a premature end.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Having only read a few of the Amelia Peabody series and now this, I conclude that Peters built her career on writing quirky, feisty women with manners and brains. Jacqueline Kirby is Amelia’s counterpart 80 years in the future (or thereabouts). Both women consider themselves far superior to pretty much everyone else they meet, especially the men, and it gets a little annoying after a while. Jacqueline has nothing but contempt for the people who say they love her books because they are basically trash - send-ups of historical romance novels and were written because she needed money and knew they’d pay. Trouble is, only she knows they’re send-ups.

The other send-up, immediately recognizable, is of the Clan of the Cave Bear books. Jacqueline has been chosen to write a sequel to a wildly popular stone-age romance novel after the original writer has been declared dead following a 7-year absence. What she quotes, muses on and thinks about that first book is lifted directly from a lot of the praise and criticism of the Earth’s Children series. That Ayla/Ara is a total Mary-Sue, although the fictional book is trying not to make her discover absolutely every tool and early invention. That Jondalar/Hawkscliffe is hung like a horse and is constantly wringing the last drop of pleasure out of the heroine’s perfect body. It’s hilarious and deftly skewered.

As is the publishing industry of the late 1980s. A swamp of rivalry and jockeying for the best interviews/agents/articles/movie deals no matter how exhausting the PR circuit might be. It too seems to be right on the money, but oh just wait dear author. Just wait until there’s facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, SnapChat and Amazon.

Like Peter’s more famous character, Amelia, Jacqueline is an accomplished amateur sleuth and she gets there in the end and even stages a Poirot-like gathering of the suspects for the big reveal. How she gets there though is more covert than Amelia would have played it. Jacqueline is a master manipulator and sees deeply through people and circumstances to arrange people and things to her advantage. Sometimes it’s a little too bloodless to make her likable, but you have to admire her ability to do it and get off without making enemies right and left.

For example, she has to meet with the dead author's brother and plans her outfit carefully including a large and rather outlandish hat (a la Ariadne Oliver) even though she knows it's a bit over-the-top. But when he tries and fails to kiss her, we know why she wore it and how well it worked without her having to physically fend him off and make him feel rejected. Kinda brilliant, that. There's nothing more dangerous to a woman than a man who feels she has humiliated him.

This little bit sums her up fairly well -

“The town that had been so lively on Saturday night was nursing its hangover Sunday afternoon. The churchgoers had gone home to dinner, all the stores were closed, even the antiques shops. Jacqueline made a mental note to make sure she did not run out of essentials, such as vodka, on Sunday.” p 114 ( )
1 vote Bookmarque | Jan 24, 2022 |
The brash and decisive ex-librarian, now a best-selling author Jacqueline Kirby is back once more.

While meeting with her agent Chris at the Tavern on the Green, she learns he intends to retire. She will need to find a new agent. He suggests she interview Booton Stokes as one possibility.

Chris offers her the carrot at the end of the stick if she selects Stokes, a chance to write the sequel to Naked in Ice. One of the most well-known and loved books of the past decade. Kathleen Darcy the author has finally been declared dead by the courts. Booton Stokes and Kathleen's heirs will make the selection based on outlines produced by competing authors. What a prize this will be for the chosen author.

Jacqueline is chosen to write the sequel!

But can she keep her detecting in check? She already told Patrick O'Brien that she suspects Kathleen didn't commit suicide but was murdered.

A suspenseful but fun mystery with many threads going in several directions. ( )
1 vote Bettesbooks | Mar 16, 2021 |
I am so sad that there are no more Jacqueline Kirby books since they always made me laugh with their wit. That said, this was a good end to the series. It was a challenging mystery; I was surprised at the ending. I laughed at some of Jacqueline's observations. It also skewered the publishing industry, not so gently.

If you've enjoyed other books in the series, you'll like this one. If you like well-written mysteries with clever humor, read the series. ( )
1 vote Jean_Sexton | Feb 5, 2017 |
Jacqueline Kirby is a writer who is chosen to write a sequel to a book by Kathleen Darcy who disappeared seven years earlier. But as she was researching and interviewing Kathleen's family and friends she got it into her head that Kathleen was not really dead,so Jacqueline begins then turns into a sleuth rather than an author. As she investigates the same accidents that happened to Kathleen begin to happen to her. Jacqueline is a likable ,little eccentric and slightly rude but persistent. If you want to know more please read this wonderfully written book with great characters and a fine storyline.
Thanks again to Net Galley and Grand Central Publishing. ( )
  druidgirl | Oct 5, 2013 |
Moderately entertaining mystery involving the disappearance of a well-known author and the questions surrounding her presumed death. ( )
  turtlesleap | Jul 6, 2011 |
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All across America there are strange little roads that lead nowhere.
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She may be a bestselling author, but ex-librarian Jacqueline Kirby's views on the publishing biz aren't fit to print. In fact, she's thinking of trading celebrity for serenity and a house far away from fiendish editors and demented fans when her agent whispers the only words that could ever make her stay: Naked in the Ice. Seven years ago, this blockbuster skyrocketed Kathleen Darcy to instant fame. Now the author's heirs are looking for a writer to pen the sequel. It's an opportunity no novelist in her right mind would pass up, and there's no doubting Jacqueline's sanity...until she starts digging through the missing woman's papers--and her past. Until she gets mixed up with Kathleen's enigmatic lover. Until a series of nasty accidents convince her much too late that someone wants to bring Jacqueline's story--and her life--to a premature end.

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