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by Kaitlyn Dunnett
Kensington, July 2019
274 pages
ISBN: 1496712579

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In the second Deadly Edits Mystery, CLAUSE & EFFECT, freelance book editor Mikki Lincoln is approached by Darlene Uberman and Ronnie North to help rewrite the script for the pageant celebrating the upcoming 225th anniversary of the founding of Lenape Hollow.

Now living in her hometown, Mikki, a recent widow, works as a "book doctor" under the business name Write Right Wright in order to pay for the renovations to the home she grew up in and purchased upon returning late last year. Citing her work schedule and the fact that her cat, Calpurnia, "goes into decline if I don't spend the majority of my free time at home," she tells Darlene and Ronnie that she will think about working on the script. At coffee with Darlene the next morning, pressed, she agrees to "just" look at the script.

Since only one typewritten copy of the script exists, it is kept in the Historical Society's Archives where Mikki can only access it during business hours. On her first visit to the archives a wall collapses on Charlie, the general contractor who is working on renovations to the Historical Society's building. Behind the wall, the mummified body of a woman is uncovered. Since the building is now a crime scene, Mikki is allowed to take the script home to review.

Grace Yarrow wrote the original script twenty-five years ago for the 200th anniversary pageant. Mikki finds gross inaccuracies in the script and wants to speak with Grace. Unable to find her she apparently disappeared just prior to the 200th year celebration and no one has heard from her since Mikki speculates she might be the mummified body. Turns out she is and speculation about who killed her begins. Seems she had affairs with several of the men involved in the earlier pageant.

As Mikki starts checking out the list of possible suspects, she is distracted by the sudden appearance of a cousin, Luke Darbee, who she did not know existed. Luke is on an ancestor hunt and Mikki's family, The Greenleighs, settled in Lenape Hollow generations ago. He believes Mikki can fill in some gaps in the family tree. As Mikki begins tracking down the various folks involved in the pageant twenty-five years ago, she finds more gossip than facts. Then, the head of the Historical Society, Gilbert Baxter is found murdered.

Kaitlyn Dunnett keeps the reader guessing as Mikki tries to jog the memories of the group of folks who worked on the previous pageant. While the mystery is sound and the characters well-developed, the pace is a little uneven. The best thing, so far, about the Deadly Edits Mysteries is Mikki Lincoln's vocation and her relationship with Calpurnia. CLAUSE & EFFECT just misses the mark set by CRIME & PUNCTUATION.

Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkertons, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, June 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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