Amanda Quick takes action to new place and time in ‘The Girl Who Knew Too Much’

Amanda Quick’s “The Girl Who Knew Too Much” features a venturesome protagonist who’s in trouble from the first paragraphs of the novel.

“The Girl Who Knew Too Much”

by Amanda Quick

Berkley Hardcover, $27, 358 pages

Author Amanda Quick has moved.

One of three names under which Seattle best-selling novelist Jayne Ann Krentz writes, Quick has been operating in the fictional milieu of Victorian and Regency London, where her resourceful and intrepid romantic-suspense heroines thrive despite the more rigid social order of those eras.

Quick’s latest, however, is set in another continent and another century: the fictitious resort town of Burning Cove, California, in the 1930s. “The Girl Who Knew Too Much” features a venturesome protagonist who’s in trouble from the first paragraphs of the novel.

Author appearance

Jayne Ann Krentz

The Seattle author will sign her new book, “The Girl Who Knew Too Much,” written under the pseudonym Amanda Quick, at noon Tuesday, May 9, at Page 2 Books, 457 S.W. 152nd St., Burien (206-248-7248 or page2books.com).

The action-packed plot is kick-started at page one, when private secretary Anna Harris discovers the blood-soaked body of her newly murdered wealthy employer, who has left a warning for Anna: the word “run,” written on a wall in her own blood as she lay dying.

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Anna does indeed run, fleeing New York after hastily packing a suitcase, a pistol, her employer’s hidden and mysterious notebook, and a letter (“If you are reading this …”) from her employer, who foresaw her own danger. Anna changes her name to Irene and takes care to conceal her cross-country journey to the California coast, hoping to avoid the unseen villains who are also after the notebook.

There is no respite for her, however: Only 17 pages into the novel, the newly minted Irene — now working as an assistant for a Hollywood gossip magazine in Burning Cove, a getaway for movie stars — has discovered another corpse. This time, the body is at the bottom of a hotel swimming pool, and Irene is again running away from a murderer.

Despite her name change, despite leaving no tracks during her flight (abandoning her car, hitchhiking, leaving no lodging records), Irene is fearful that her employer’s murderer will find her. The author ratchets up the suspense with glimpses of the murderer’s perspective, as he gathers clues and mounts a chase.

And what’s in that mysterious notebook? We don’t know: It is crammed with cryptic symbols and figures that Irene can’t decipher, and, apparently, neither can anyone else. Irene believes that whatever the notebook contains is sufficiently explosive to have caused her employer’s death.

So does Oliver Ward, the mysterious and powerful hotel owner whom Irene meets in Burning Cove. Formerly a famous magician whose career ended after a disabling accident, Ward shelters Irene…

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