On a sweltering Virginia day in 1975, reporter Olivia Kerr, her husband Jerry Ryan, his very pregnant sister Maggie and her family decide to have a beach picnic. Olivia invites her colleague Dale Colby and his family to join them. At the last minute, Dale decides to stay home to pursue an important story. But when the beach-goers return, they find Dale lifeless in a pool of blood inside his locked office.
Police detective Holly Schreiner leads the investigation, battling Maggie—and demons of her own.
Don't Miss These Great Reviews:
"An ingeniously plotted, fair-play, locked-room mystery, one of the best we've encountered." — Tom and Enid Schantz, The Denver Post
"A dandy locked room murder…The investigation is a dangerous one… [the] solution both surprising and satisfying" — A Suitable Job for a Woman
"A satisfying, fast-paced whodunit that also explores a range of social issues, especially the violence of war and its aftermath." — Cynthia R. Benjamins, Fairfax Journal
“[Maggie Ryan] has been a role model for women since the beginning and I loved watching her merge marriage and children with her talent for solving mysteries!” — Margaret Maron
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery. It contains a great mix of character development, action, and scene description. The author has a compelling writing style that I really appreciated. I usually don't like a universal point of view but it worked for me in this novel. Though this novel is far into the series, it is the only one I've read. It was a great read on its own and I will be looking for more from Carlson.
The plot deals with solving a mystery. I love the idea of a murder behind locked doors. I also liked the idea of getting to know the characters. I really like Maggie. She has an intuitive mind and is filled with compassion. I liked the police detective, trying to deal with the tragedies from her past. She had been a nurse in Viet Nam and there is quite a bit about that war and reactions to it in the novel. I remember well those troubled years and Carlson has done an excellent job of describing feelings of veterans and protesters.
I recommend this mystery to those who enjoy a good mix of character revelation and growth woven into a good mystery.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Book Details:Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: The Mystery Company / Crum Creek Press
Publication Date: April 2014
Number of Pages: 271
Series: Maggie Ryan and Nick O'Connor #6
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Goodreads
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P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.