The axiom “write what you know” deliciously foretells this poker-themed thriller. Hitchcock (Mortal Friends, 2009) is a Brearley and Sara Lawrence graduate who was defrauded by a man assigned to oversee the nearly $80-million estate left by Hitchcock’s father to her mother.

BLUFF - Jane Stanton Hitchcock

BLUFF by Jane Stanton Hitchcock Poisoned Pen Press

The fictitious Maud Warner is a former socialite turned “mature” card shark (another link to the author’s life: Hitchcock won her first poker tournament at age 71). Maud’s claims that famed accountant Burt Sklar squandered her family fortune have fallen on deaf ears among Manhattan’s elite for years.

But when she walks into the Four Seasons restaurant and shoots Sklar’s lunch companion, millionaire Sun Sunderland, her former friends suddenly take notice. Maud turns the invisibility of a middle-aged woman to her advantage as she hides out among her poker cronies. It soon becomes clear, though, that Maud is playing a long game. Her bluff is more audacious than anyone could imagine. And if she pulls it off, she’ll get the payout she’s been waiting years to collect. A smartly plotted upper-crust caper.