A High Price To Pay

Madeline’s dual professions as event coordinator and private investigator cross paths during the most lavish affair of her career—a weekend-long 40th birthday extravaganza for the wife of a famous film director. As the party draws near, a simple background check after the disappearance of precious family jewels quickly turns into a murder investigation, and before Madeline and Mike can put the pieces together, another body turns up.

Adding to Madeline’s already overflowing plate, the D.A. informs her that Rick Yeoman―one of the men who abducted her three years earlier―has been released from prison after cutting a deal with the Feds. Besides fearing reprisals from the man she helped to convict, his parole also triggers the reappearance of soulless Lionel Usherwood, lured out of his hideaway by the call of revenge. When Yeoman’s body surfaces in Lake Cachuma, Usherwood moves on to the next target: Madeline.

A High Price to Pay is the second novel in the Madeline Dawkins Mystery series.

HIGH PRICE has won the ABR Award for Best Narrator in the Women Sleuth Mystery category for 2023!

“Edgy and intelligent mystery”
“Excellent detective story”
“Thrilling from start to finish”
A High Price to Pay Front Cover


“The plotting of A High Price To Pay is exquisite. The characters are depicted with rich depth and dimension. As in her other works, Cynthia Hamilton reveals an intelligence in her writing about human nature. There are no cardboard cutouts here to occupy space or meet a superficial need. Every character, however minor or tangential, is fully-drawn and consequential. This is a hallmark of Hamilton’s prose. She is an accomplished and gifted wordsmith. This book far exceeds the expectations of an ordinary whodunit. The characters, through their thoughts and actions, reveal reflections on human nature, insight into emotions and passions we all share. By the time the mystery is solved, we’ve learned far more than the murderer’s identity.” ★★★★★

“I love the way that Ms. Hamilton writes. As a huge fan of mysteries and crime thrillers, I want to read an author who writes intelligently and thoughtfully. I want characters that are not perfect but real. I want a plot that has me turning the next page eagerly to find out what is going to happen. I want an author who does not spoon feed me all the clues and information. Most importantly, I want interesting characters and dialogue. Cynthia Hamilton provides all of what I look for in mystery book.” ★★★★★

“Hamilton’s clever twists keep the reader flipping pages to see how both plot lines could possibly be resolved satisfactorily (They are!) and it all leads to an non-stop thrill ride of an ending that’ll keep you reading late into the night.” ★★★★★