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by Molly MacRae, read by Emily Durante
Tantor, November 2012
Unabridged pages
ISBN: 1452610878

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Kath is having a very bad day. She's racing to get to her grandmother's funeral when she gets pulled over by the local law, an officer named Cold. He cuts her no slack, and refers to her grandmother as “Crazy Ivy”. She gets to Blue Plum in time to watch her grandmother's remains be lowered into the ground. The annoying Spivey twins are quick to offer to help, an offer she would love to refuse; her memories of them from her childhood stays in Blue Plum are not wonderful. Still, they follow her to her grandmother's house, which she has always been told would be hers when the day came. It's locked and nobody's keys, including the Spivey's, fit.

She is offered a place to stay at “The Home Place”, a historical local attraction; the caretaker was recently murdered and his small house is available until a new caretaker is found. Kath has no choice but to take this mixed blessing; the alternative is staying with the Spivey's and that just is not going to happen. Her first night there, she surprises a burglar, who turns out to be Cole's brother Ten. (Their mother named them after famous poets.) Cole shows up after Ten has escaped, and doesn't believe Kath. Later, Kath is surprised by a very lachrymose ghost, who loved the former caretaker Emmet.

There are all kinds of mysteries in LW&T: who killed Emmet and why; why did Ivy leave her house to Emmet before she died; what happened to Ivy's dye journals; who has been pilfering from Ivy's store, The Weaver's Cat; and why did Ten break into the cottage? Those are just the big questions. Kath also has to decide what to do with the store, where to put all Gran's stuff (of which there is a LOT), and how to cope with the ghost that only she can hear.

MacRae writes a mean cozy, and that's a good thing. Her characters are delightful, particularly Ardis and the Spivey twins. Sometimes Kath can dither a bit, but when one thinks about how her world has turned upside down and sideways in such a short time (and in such a believable way), it doesn't seem so unusual. The plotting is very good; I was sure I knew who did it, and was close but didn't quite have it right. The setting is lovely. There are plenty of openings for the series to continue in a number of directions. A bonus for those who get the Audio CDs is the printable PDR with recipes and a pattern on the first disc.

§ P.J. Coldren lives in northern lower Michigan where she reads and reviews widely across the mystery genre when she isn't working in her local hospital pharmacy.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, February 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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