Death Takes Priority
A Postmistress Mystery #1
Berkley Prime Crime, November 2015
Mass Market Paperback
One of my dearest friends works for the Post Office, so I was pleased to find this book about Cassie Millar, who trades life as a manager in the Boston Post Office for a job as postmistress in her small hometown in the Berkshires. Cassie’s been away for a long time, so she’s only gradually finding old friends and making new ones. She loves her new job, though, until the day she unlocks the door and finds that someone has stolen several stacks of phone books. Why?
Then a body turns up in the nearby woods, and Cassie’s lunch date, a handsome antiques dealer, is arrested. Concerned for her new friend, Cassie starts asking questions. She finds answers, new friends and some very dangerous people before she’s done.
I enjoyed spending time with Cassie and learning about the workings of a small town post office and will certainly buy the next book.
Reviewed by Marilyn Nulman, December 2015.
World Gone By
William Morrow Paperbacks, January 2016
The life Joe Coughlin has lived began in The Given Day as a young man rebelling against his stern police captain father in Boston, and continued in Live By Night as he turned to a life of crime, rising in the ranks to run the rackets in Florida and elsewhere. Now, World Gone By brings the story to a conclusion.
This segment takes place around the time the United States entered World War II and takes a deep look at Joe’s machinations as he operates between the various elements of society, government and the disparate areas of their less reputable members with whom he comes into contact. At the same time, we see Joe as a doting father of a motherless son, having lost his Cuban wife in a horrible murder at the end of the last novel.
For all his money and power, the fear of death always pervades a gangster’s life, and the plot has Joe learning that a contract has been taken out on his life, his murder scheduled for Ash Wednesday, less than a week away. The steps Joe takes to learn of the plot and what to do about it has ramifications for the remainder of the story, which is as about well-written and -plotted as anything recently read.
This novel, as the entire trilogy, is highly recommended.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, January 2016.