Book Review: The Blue Virgin by M. K. Graff

The Blue VirginThe Blue Virgin
A Nora Tierney Mystery
M. K. Graff
Bridle Path Press, April 2010
ISBN 978-0-615-35514-6
Trade Paperback

The story opens upon two lovers having a little spat. Bryn Wallace has fallen in love with Val Rogan, and they’re arguing about whether moving in together will work. Bryn wants to go into the relationship as an equal–and yes, she’s still working on the same-sex partner thing.

But that same night Bryn is murdered, and Val becomes suspect. Who else had a motive? Who else had the opportunity? Detective Inspector Declan Barnes doesn’t lack for possible suspects; Bryn’s former boyfriends, a father she never knew, a possibly jealous employer. But still, a jealous lover is still his best bet.

As the net draws in around Val, Nora Tierney, who has surprisingly already solved one crime, is determined to rescue her friend. Nora is aided by a man who wants nothing more than to marry her, even though she’s pregnant with another man’s child. Even Declan, drawn to Nora in spite of himself, wants to protect her as she hunts desperately for Bryn’s killer.

Classify this one as a literary mystery. The author delves deeply into the character of both protagonists and antagonists. The story moves in such a fashion that the reader genuinely gets to know these people and learn what makes them tick. Using Oxford, England as the setting is plenty to pique one’s curiosity.

Putting Nora into a dangerous confrontation with the murderer, is a twisty and sophisticated solution to bring the mystery to a close. And if the characters at times seem quite flippant about so serious a matter as a young woman’s death, the end manages to become heartwarming indeed.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, May 2013.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.