Carnegie Kincaid's dream of being a successful businesswoman is within grasp when she agrees to plan the wedding of a prominent Seattle family. But before Nickie Parry can stand at the altar, she has to fulfill her role as a bridesmaid. Fate acts as the uninvited guest, putting a snag in Carnegie's perfect arrangements at the Victorian mansion-for-rent. Dealing with a sneezing bridesmaid, a torn wedding gown, the presence of a homeless woman and a missing waiter set off a chain of events which ends in tragedy. One of the bridesmaids storms out of the mansion after a heated argument with her boyfriend. The first available means of escape is Nickie's Mustang, which ends up hitting a brick wall and instantly killing the young driver. The only spark of hope in Diane's affair is Carnegie learning that the man she thought was a waiter is actually the Parrys' lawyer, Holt Walter.
Complicating matters is the possibility that the accident was a premeditated threat aimed at Nickie's father. Douglas Parry is caught in a legal battle claiming he was involved in securities fraud. King County Savings CEO, Keith Guthridge, attempted to re-direct the blame when KCS went into receivership. Nickie is in the middle of this madness. She loves her father, but is torn between her respect for Guthridge, who is her godfather.
After the sad turn of events at Diane's wedding, Carnegie works overtime juggling her responsibilities with both Nickie's approaching wedding and the Parry's fundraiser for a Senator. A reporter named Aaron Gold digs for information about the Guthridge and Parry legal battle right in the Parry's own kitchen. And things just steam up from there. Two hours after Gold tells Carnegie that Guthridge is a dangerous man, she is attacked in the woods on the Parry's estate. She knew their story of her walking into a tree hadn't a touch of truth to it. Was it Theo, the chauffeur who hit her over the head? Could Crazy Mary's story about seeing a man doing something terrible, before Diane's wedding, have anything to do with Michelle's death? Who destroyed the garden and killed Gus, the Parry's dog? Who has been on her houseboat and is trying to destroy her reputation? Carnegie's list of questions just keeps growing. Soon she becomes a target because of her and her friend's investigation into the identity of the guilty party. She's even considered the prime suspect in a crime she would never commit.
VEILED THREATS is a first-person novel that you'll love. Donnelly introduces you to the stressful job of a wedding planner and the tainted element of covering up one's failures and betrayal. The characters have real problems and goals that aren't difficult to understand. There's enough mystery to keep you turning the pages and enough emotion to make it realistic. I would have preferred seeing a few characters' roles more involved, such as those of Theo's, Holt's and Nickie's stepmother, Grace. Say a prayer for Gus and keep an eye on the mystery bookshelves for "Died to Match," which Dell has slated for September 2002 publication.
4 pearl necklaces out of five
©2002 and beyond by Denise Fleischer. Not to be used without permission by anyone except the specific author being reviewed.