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Evil Genius by Patricia Rice

Anastasia Devlin is a virtual assistant, an invisible researcher and finder-of-all-things, known to her clients as a handle and a PO Box.  She’s also the daughter of a gorgeous, dysfunctional woman of many marriages & affairs who has spent a lifetime globetrotting and possibly spying for her country.  Her mother provided her with numerous half-siblings (all the children of powerful and/or wealthy men) and a checkered past of living in palaces and mud huts around the world.

At twenty-six Ana bolted, and has been hidden from her family for four years.  She’s not a hermit, but she’s an introvert who scorns her mother’s way of dealing with the world, much less dealing with men.  Right now, living in a basement flat in Atlanta, GA and building a career and a bank account through her laptop works just fine for Ana.

Then one morning she opens her door to find her nine year old sister Elizabeth Georgiana, I.E. EG for Evil Genius (EG earned her name at five years while unmasking an addicted gambler—her mother’s current boyfriend—just before he made off with the money from Mom’s last divorce settlement.)

“I brought my own bed,” EG announces as she drags in a suitcase as big as she is. “Nick will be here shortly.”  That’s eldest younger brother, side scion of an English lord, a talented gambler who is depressed and has his own reasons for seeking Ana out.

Who died?  How did she get on a plane?  And why did she track down the only family member who can be relied on in a crisis?  Turns out EG’s worshipped-but-never-seen senator father has been accused of murder, and EG thinks Ana can prove it’s not true.

And we’re off!  This novel is listed as a mystery, but Patricia Rice clearly has read her share of Jennifer Crusie and Janet Evanovich, because this is in many ways a caper novel.  With a family like Ana’s, there are more adventures to be told.  In a fit of wishing for family and a home, Ana had just located where their grandfather lives—Washington D.C.  So it’s time to visit grandfather.

But grandfather just died.  The lawyer for his estate has disappeared, and the new owner of both mansion and butler is a disembodied voice living in the attic. The spider in the attic has hidden microphones and surveillance cameras set up everywhere.

And the plot just gets more tangled and crazy.  There’s gentle humor, real threats, a few good-looking men, a possible “spook” living on the top floor—no, that’s all you get.  Trust me, this is just the beginning, I haven’t spoiled a thing, and it all works.

Multiple mysteries are presented, and Ana the chameleon has to solve all of them before someone terminates those annoying details—Ana and her siblings.  Ana will be forced to “bloom” as she channels her inner woman, anger issues and all, into building a safe base of operations for her family.

At the end, you’ll find yourself wondering who exactly is the real evil genius?  And you’ll be glad you found this fun series.  Read a sample or buy Evil Genius, Book 1 of the Family Genius Mysteries, here.



CAFE READS: EVIL GENIUS, by Patricia Rice — 3 Comments