(US, 1949– )
Barnes writes the dry, witty Carlotta Carlyle stories, set in Boston, Massachusetts. Their heroine is an engaging, gutsy private investigator and part-time cab-driver. Although Carlotta is a strong and independent character she is no loner; she is close to her ‘little sister’ Paolina for whom she is a role model and she makes use of a circle of friends and acquaintances, including former partner Lieutenant Mooney, to help her with her cases. In Coyote (1991) Carlotta is drawn into the world of illegal immigration and onto the trail of a mass murderer. Snapshot (1993) involves Carlotta in a quest to find out whether a young girl's death was due to any medical malpractice. Cold Case (1997) sees her searching for the truth about Thea Janis, a brilliant author who was murdered over twenty years ago but has apparently produced a recently written manuscript.
Sue Grafton, Val McDermid CS