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Claire Montrose Books In Order

Publication Order of Claire Montrose Books

Circles of Confusion (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Square in the Face (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Heart-Shaped Box (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Buried Diamonds (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Claire Montrose is the name of a series of novels written by April Henry. It is also the name of the primary protagonist of the series.

+The Story

The Claire Montrose books were April Henry’s first formal attempt at writing. Even though she dabbled in the art at an early age, it wasn’t until ‘Circles of Confusion’, the first book in the Claire Montrose series was published in 1999 that April began to pursue writing seriously.

Not only did the books mark April’s foray into the publishing field but the Claire Montrose garnered quick popularity from readers who found Claire Montrose to be a fun, charming and entertaining protagonist.

The Claire Montrose series, it should be noted, is categorized in the cozy mystery genre. The books center on Claire Montrose who starts out as a mousy lady working for the Oregon State License Plate Division.

Claire’s life isn’t where she hoped it would be. Her task of approving vanity plates is hardly inspiring. However, things changes when Claire is embroiled in a situation featuring World War II Paraphernalia that eventually gives her life the spark it requires.

Pretty soon, Claire’s life makes a drastic turn; not only is she working as a part-time sleuth but her artist Boyfriend from New York has given her love life the rejuvenation it so desperately needed.

Along with a group of quirky friends and family, the Claire Montrose series finds its titular character facing the dangers of each new mystery with fervor and some excitement.

Claire Montrose’s fans adore the fact that she is not typical of female sleuths. Claire has never been part of the in-crowd. She was always too tall, too young looking and way too slender. As an adult, she still struggles because of the uncertainties plaguing her life.

The 37-year-old has an aura of anxiety around her, and she spends most books second guessing her worth and every single one of her decisions. In fact, April Henry has been known to attract criticism because of the way she sometimes writes Claire.

Despite being written to be a capable lady of impressive intelligence, Claire makes a lot of foolish decisions. She also nurtures a number of childish tendencies and behaviors that can be cringe worthy to read.

April’s critics have suggested that she might have been better off creating a strong, self-confident female role model of a sleuth, this as opposed to someone who seemingly stumbles her way through her cases.

April hasn’t been shy about pushing back against these suggestions though. In interviews, April has suggested that she writes Claire Montrose as she has because that is what she knows.

April doesn’t understand the strong and self-confident woman. She understands what it is like to question oneself and to struggle with uncertainty, and so she simply writes in Claire what she has come to know in real life.

+The Author

April Henry was born in 1959 in Portland, Oregon to a KTVL Television Newscaster for a father and a florist for a mother. April was three when she began to read. Her mother began teaching her the alphabet at a very early age.

April can trace her writing career decades back to when she was twelve and wrote Roald Dahl a letter. Dahl is responsible for writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. By this age, April had written a story about a frog that loved peanut butter and she wanted Dahl to read it.

To her delight, not only did Dahl read her story but he wrote back and asked her to publish it. Despite this lucky break, April chose to not pursue her dreams. She got her degree from Oregon State University and got a job at a hospital.

Things began to change when she scored a few gigs as a writer for health care organizations like HealthLink and the Heart Association. April’s first three books were rejected, though she got an agent out of it all.

Her fourth book ‘Circles of Confusion’ changed everything, selling in three days and becoming a success. The author went on to write numerous mystery and thriller novels for both young and older readers. She has also co-written with authors like Lis Wiehl.

For her efforts, she has been nominated for an Anthony Award, an Agatha and an Edgar Award. Some of her books have also been optioned for possible movie adaptations.

+Circles of Confusion

When Claire Montrose finds her dear departed Aunt Cady’s painting within all her World War Paraphernalia, she is initially told by an art expert that the painting holds no value. However, Claire isn’t sure she believes that assessment, not when her hotel room is ransacked and someone begins to follow her.

Something is obviously amiss, and Claire’s search for the truth brings with it some unexpected dangers.

This book provides a few interesting tidbits about art forgeries and World War II. The first introduction to Claire Montrose is an amusing one. Claire is likable and you cannot help but root for her.

And for some readers, April Henrys decision to end the chapters with a vanity license plate that readers have to analyze to figure out what it says paid off.

Overall, April’s writing is pleasant and enjoyable. However, this book has a number of mistakes that could have been resolved if April had invested in some proofreading services.

+Square in the Face

The second book in the Claire Montrose series finds Claire enjoying the new changes in her life. Claire is now working as a part-time sleuth. She also has an artist boyfriend and all manner of quirky friends.

When Lori’s son falls ill and Lori learns that he needs a bone marrow transplant to survive, she turns to her friend and former co-worker for help. Lori gave up her first child for adoption a long time ago and she wants Claire to find her because she could be a potential match for her son’s transplant.

When Claire begins to dig, she uncovers secrets that place her life in peril. But she cannot afford to give up, not when a young boy’s life is hanging in the balance.

The adoption mystery in this book elevates it above its predecessor. However, not all the pieces come together in a rational manner. The novel is still a fun and entertaining read.

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