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by Sara Hoskinson Frommer
Perseverance Press, April 2013
235 pages
ISBN: 1564745252

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Joan Spencer loves her life in Oliver, Indiana. She loves the symphony orchestra, with which she is deeply involved; she loves the senior center, of which she is the director; she loves her husband Fred; and she loves her two children, Rebecca and Andrew. Rebecca is about to marry another musician, Brian, and Joan dearly loves him. She very much doesn't love his mother Elizabeth, who has the personality of a crocodile, and who is trying to take over the wedding, even though it's only days away.

Joan's brother Dave turns up to be at the nuptials well in advance and with little notice. Dave is a cad and a charmer. He has confessed to Joan that he has been in jail. She learns that it was because he had committed fraud. He manages to charm the head of the orchestra, Alex Campbell, who has never been known to crack a smile. He charms all the women at the senior center, and most of the female population of Oliver.

When Joan turns up at the b&b where she has installed Dave, she finds him dead, her mother-in-law, who is falling gradually into a greater and greater state of dementia, standing over him with a knife. No one really believes that Helga committed the crime.

Joan and husband Fred (he can't be officially part of the investigation because of his mother's involvement) team up to find the real killer. They wonder if it could be someone from Joan's past out to take revenge. Joan has fond memories of Dave protecting her from bullies when they were children. Could one of those bullies be back for revenge?

Frommer's many years writing mysteries stand her in good stead. The plot is very engrossing and leads the reader down many paths until the end. The reader is very sad at the conclusion. One little nit to pick. There is a sub-sub-plot of Dave planning to sell timber on land he inherited from his parents. The plot doesn't seem to be terribly relevant.

All the characters are well done. Joan is especially interesting because of her conflicted feelings about her brother. Was he merely a con man or a protector? Probably we never really know.

Mary Elizabeth Devine taught English Literature for 35 years, is co-author of five books about customs and manners around the world and lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Reviewed by Mary Elizabeth Devine, October 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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