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A MEASURE OF MURDER
by Leslie Karst
Crooked Lane Books, February 2017
336 pages
$25.99
ISBN: 1683310187


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

What's not to love in a mystery that includes Italian food, music and murder? A MEASURE OF MURDER is the second book in the Sally Solari mystery series, and opens just a few months after the events of the first book in which Sally discovered her Aunt Letta's murderer.

When the book begins, ex-lawyer Sally is working two full time jobs helping her father run her family's Italian restaurant across the street from the beach in Santa Cruz, and managing Gauguin's, the fine dining restaurant she inherited from her Aunt Letta. When her ex-boyfriend, Eric, suggested that she audition for the Santa Cruz Community Chorus, she would have declined the offer were it not that the chorus is performing is Mozart's Requiem the last piece of music Mozart wrote, and one Sally has been eager to be part of ever since she saw the movie AMADEUS in high school. She is delighted when she makes the chorus, but then, during the first rehearsal, the tenor section leader, Kyle Copman, is found dead in the churchyard.

Although the police decide that Kyle's death is an accident, Jill, Kyle's girlfriend, disagrees. Remembering the publicity surrounding Sally's discovery of Aunt Letta's killer, Jill asks Sally to look into Kyle's death independently. Sally, who has already noticed discrepancies that seem to indicate Kyle's death was not accidental, agrees. With a broad array of suspects both within and without the choir, including an employee who may have intentionally started a fire at Gauguin's to distract her from her investigation, Sally has her hands full as she steadily works her way towards finding the truth about Kyle's killer.

This book is engaging and lively. The Santa Cruz setting adds greatly to the novel's interest with its seaside setting and the international flavors that naturally emerge from the eclectic population mix in the city. The camaraderie, rivalries and petty jealousies that abound in the community chorus will be familiar to anyone who has ever sung in a choir. The twists and turns of Sally's investigation keeps the reader's attention, and the ending is satisfying. By the time the sole unlikely moment in the book the place and time where Sally discovers a murder weapon confirming the killer's identity - occurs, the reader will be so swept up in the mystery that the improbabilities of the incident do not detract from the story. The four recipes for dishes served in the book are an extra bonus. A MEASURE OF MURDER is fun to read, and will leave you eagerly awaiting Sally's next sleuthing adventure.

Nancy Eady is a writer, blogger and lawyer in central Alabama. She has read mysteries since elementary school, and is currently working on a mystery novel of her own. Her blog is located at www.workingmomadventures.com.

Reviewed by Nancy Eady, February 2017

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