PUTT TO DEATH by Roberta Isleib (Berkley $5.99)

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If only Cassie Burdette played golf as well as her creator, Roberta Isleib, designs her adventures; she would be ranked number one in the world. In PUTT TO DEATH, the third Cassie Burdette mystery, we find that life on the tour is not what it's cracked up to be. Actually, for Cassie there is no life on the tour, for too many poor showings have led to a brief suspension from the LPGA, leaving Cassie to take on temp work as a golf pro in a snooty northern country club.

Now, instead of putting against the likes of Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, Cassie must help little old ladies improve their backswing while also performing various PR duties for special events, all the while keeping her smile bright in the face of veiled misogyny in the name of golf (it's not Hootie Johnson bad, though; to tell the truth, it isn't exactly veiled, either). Seems like a good venue for staying out of trouble, despite the petty bickering amongst club members, but trouble finds Cassie anyway. Two champions for change, one for environmental improvements and the other for equality for female members, are found dead on the greens, and despite promises to her friends and shrink, Cassie slowly becomes involved in the crimes, partly to clear herself of suspicion.

Add the sudden reappearance of Cassie's long estranged father, and romantic on-again, off-again hijinks with a fellow golfer on the professional tour, and mystery lovers have a well-rounded, witty caper guaranteed to keep interest in between tournaments. One thing to note (spoiler): There's a reference in the book to recent Masters winner, Phil Mickelson, not being a natural lefty. As a natural lefty happy to see a lefty take the green jacket, I can only say, say it ain't so, Roberta! :-)

Kathryn Lively

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