Dear Ms. Enoch:
While I enjoyed book 1 and 2 of this series, I feel like the series is stagnating a bit and while there is forward motion in the 5th entry to the Sam and Rick saga, I’ve kind of lost interest. The issues that Sam and Rick are struggling with in A Touch of Minx are the same that appeared in the first four books and the well plotted mystery isn’t enough to carry me through those emotionally stale waters.
Samantha Jellicoe is a cat burglar gone straight. She runs a security business with a friend and is invited to investigate the loss of stolen Japanese artifacts taken from the Met 10 years ago. The Japanese have a new traveling exhibit that the Met would like to host but the Japanese have told them that it must redeem its honor by producing the stolen armor and swords. Jellicoe is retained to recover those. In a seemingly effortless manner, Samantha and Rick are able to whittle down the possible culprits to a few people who live in Palm Beach. The convenience of this is staggering.
Rick is highly displeased that Sam is taking this on and tries to extract promises that she limit her activities in such a way that there is no harm that could result. Which, of course, given that Sam has to sneak into highly fortified homes and steal away items that have been stolen in the first place, is totally reasonable. Or not.
Sam takes on one other project for the daughter of Rick’s attorney. Unfortunately, anatomy man was stolen from the child’s classroom and while it would be easy to pay for a replacement, the teacher wants to recover it as it would be a “terrific lesson for the kids about consequences and doing the right thing.” How Sam recovering the item teaches this lesson, I am not entirely sure but I guess that there has to be some explanation for a bunch of Palm Beach parents not shelling out dough for the replacement.
Suspending my disbelief that the alleged possessors of the 10 year ago shogun heist all live in the same small city as Samantha, the mystery is the best part of the story. Sam uses some much talked about skills of burglary to obtain information as to who is the true culprit. I also enjoyed the sleuthing that Sam does in search of anatomy man.
The underlying relationship arc between Sam and Rick is distracting. Sam has the same old hang ups as she did a year ago and the relationship dynamic is static. Samantha isn’t sure she wants to live in the golden world of Rick and feels like lying and deceiving him still is the way to keep their relationship healthy. Rick acts as a placeholder in this book. He’s fairly one dimensional: rich and used to getting what he wants. He’s very re-active, allowing all of his emotions and actions to be dictated by Sam. He’s afraid of her taking on dangerous projects for the Met; he doesn’t want her stealing anymore; he wants to be involved in her escapades even though he has no training in thievery. He’s afraid if he proposes, he’ll lose her forever. If anything, he’s a hindrance and his myopia fails to see that. In some sense he’s like the TSTL heroine.
I think the inherent problem is that Sam is really a high strung individual, a risk taking junkie and so is Rick, only his highs are derived from business risks versus bodily risks. Unfortunately, the dynamic that is written into the books is that Sam and Rick are very different individuals and it is the differences that explain why they a) love each other and b) have a lot of friction. Because the way in which I am told by the characters and the narrator that the dynamic is one way and the way in which the actions portray a completely different dynamic lend a lack of believability to the coupling of Sam and Rick.
I don’t really get a sense that these two belong together, that they are two halves of a whole. They are two halves of the same side and probably belong with other people. They both need someone who is more laid back. Instead, they both are highstrung thoroughbreds who are constantly clashing. C