The Frame-Up (The Golden Arrow Mysteries) by Meghan Scott Molin

Reviewed by Ed Kelly

The Frame-UpFor readers of Stephanie Plum, the character of MG (Michael-Grace), is the perfect sister. But MG is light years from Steph in geekhood, she is the queen of nerdiness, bar none. This novel is not just for geeks and nerds, it’s also for those of us who nothing about them and their culture. Given the strength of MG’s character and by seeing everything through her eyes, MG will guide us through all the curves and tunnels of this alien world. Granted you’ll have to google a few items (Assassin’s Creed, Jigglypuff, for example), but you’ll grow to trust MG as your guide.

Who is MG? She’s a law school dropout, against her parent’s wishes. MG rebelled even further from her parents (and everyone else from the non-nerd world) and became a comic story writer, comic book illustrator, and a costume designer. Her hair has been many colors: blue, violet, green, orange, and other colors as well. Her love for the nerd culture has been her life as can be seen in the following bio bit: “The comic book store I worked in when I turned sixteen was the first places that had ever felt like home. . . .I loved the stack of adventures waiting to be read and the conversation about Falcon and Swish I had with customers. . . .” And she’s managed to work in that world for ten years successfully.

For MG there is a binding force of love: love for family (by her definition of family), for the work that she does, and for solving crimes. Her family consists of: “L” (Lawrence, a huge black drag queen), and Ryan her roommate and both look after MG as a daughter or sister. More recently, and reluctantly, for the cop who’s investigating the new Hooded Falcon. But MG becomes seriously entangled in a moral maze when she drags “L” and others into the Hooded Falcon crime.

The Hooded Falcon crime caper originally was a vigilante crime that took place some thirty years ago, where the original Hooded Falcon managed to capture various big drug lords and all of their drugs singlehanded, but forfeits the glory and hands it to the police. The capture was the largest single drug of the times and made the reputation of a single police officer who then became LA’s chief of police And the Hooded Falcon rides again and smack dab in the middle of the current crime is MG. Her sometimes boyfriend cop is investigating the vigilante crimes that harken back to the original Hooded Falcon crime with many of the same characters. Matteo, the cop, keeps close to MG, except when he has to be the strict investigating officer, which is almost all the time. The crime is complex and the solving of it requires all of MG?s time and energy and she puts at risk of many of the family she loves.

MG does indeed solve the crime, but the solving creates a legal mess for her, “L,” and other members of her family as well as “L”’s. While the legalities are settled, she does not see her friend/fellow enforcer, the cop Matteo. This is a very difficult separation for MG and it too is resolved.

For non-geeks, this is as good a mystery as for the geeks. MG entices the reader of both stripes with her thoroughly engaging and strong personality. I’m glad I met her and look forward to her next geeky caper.

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