A Hitch in Heaven by Jan Hudson
(Fawcett, $6.50, PG) ISBN 0-449-15027-5
A cute and lively tale with a sense of humor, but not much else, A Hitch in Heaven looks at the romance between a female Pinkerton detective and her handsome client.

It's Austin, Texas, in the Spring of 1886 and Beau Chandler has a problem. Someone has kidnapped his Uncle Angus. Trouble is, Uncle Angus is dead and whoever carted off the miserly old goat is now holding his body for ransom. Basically Beau could care less, but the women in the family, so concerned with appearances, are aghast. So Beau sends a wire to the world famous Pinkerton Detective Agency.

Much to Beau's undisguised delight, the agent arrives in the form of beautiful sometimes actress Amanda Swann. Posing undercover as Beau's fiancée (he's recently returned to Austin after a long absence) Amanda immediately sets out to discover Uncle Angus' kidnappers. Seemingly immune to Beau's considerable charms, Amanda is all business…at least for a while.

It gets harder and harder to keep her distance from the charming Beau and his equally captivating family. In no time at all, Amanda has become a regular member of the clan – befriending Beau's nieces, becoming protective of his abused sister, and eventually, falling head over heels for the charismatic man who may have inherited his uncle's money – but not his mean and nasty ways.

The big mystery isn't much of one at all. In fact, the book could have been over in half as many pages if the author hadn't opted for Romantic Cliché Plot #4 – the "I'll never marry you no matter how much I love you" variety. But there is quite a bit of fun preceding this announcement, and Beau makes the best of it while he can. Still, the reader never really gets to know either the hero or the heroine. They are thinly drawn and lacking any real sense of motivation.

In spite of that, there was much about A Hitch in Heaven that I enjoyed. I just don't know if I enjoyed it $6.50 worth.

--Ann McGuire

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