A Madeline Maclin Mystery #5
Poisoned Pen Press, May 2016
Madeline Maclin and Jerry Fairweather are a power couple to be sure. Based in the (fictional) town of Celosia, North Carolina, although Jerry comes from “old” money, they make their living via Madeline’s detective agency and Jerry’s job as a breakfast cook in a restaurant. Sounds mundane, except that she is a former beauty queen, and he is a former con man. At least she trusts he’s a “former” con man.
The story begins with the discovery of a young man’s naked body, found in the woods with symbols written over it. The symbols seem to point to witchcraft. The question is, is it connected with a coven from twenty-five years ago, or a present one that is based on a popular movie and book series?
Meanwhile, a wealthy woman has demanded the town’s backing as she bulls her way forward with plans to celebrate Celosia’s centennial. This includes a musical play written by and starring herself, with the other residents compelled to contribute talent, time and money. And if they don’t, look out, or they may just be murdered. At least that’s what happened to city councilman Harold Stover who adamantly protested against the play because the town can’t afford it. Who else wanted to kill him except Amanda Price, in a hurry to get all opposition out of the way?
That’s what Madeline has to find out, with a lot of help from her husband.
This is book five of the series. I’ve read one or two others, and I’m always up for a visit with this pair. I love the setting, the small town, and Madeline and Jerry as well as Denisha and Austin, who are a couple of neighbor kids who look on Jerry as a willing playmate.
I did have one problem with the story, and that concerns the number of characters introduced. Perhaps they expanded the pool from which to select the murderer, but with so many, it was a little hard to keep track. The whole town was involved!
Reviewed by Carol Crigger, June 2016.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder and Four Furlongs.