To Grandmother’s House
Five Star, Aug 2009, $25.95
Laura Magee was the art writer at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts until she lost her position and her boyfriend painter Owen Reynolds. Leaving Boston, she moves in with her grandma in the nearby college town Ravensford. When the Ravensford Chronicle’s most popular columnist, Auntie Mabel dies after over three decades of advice, the owner Roger St. Claire hires Laura to continue the column as few people knew that Mabel was Ann Rickdorf.
Ravensford College head of security Keith Campbell charges into the newspaper’s office demanding to see Auntie Mabel for the column she wrote yesterday. Apparently her advice persuaded his Amazonian girlfriend, college art teacher Heidi Lipton, the renowned “Pottery Princess”, to dump him. Laura hides her alter ego from him, but offers to go out with him to make Heidi jealous even though she is attracted to the handsome Keith. At a gala, art department chair Jack Proctor is found dead when Laura accidentally falls on him at the bottom of some stairs. Heidi’s bracelet is found with him. As Police detective Michael Farantello tells her to stay out of his inquiry as she has compromised the crime scene already; Laura helps him anyway.
This is a fun lighthearted whodunit as the heroine goes from no men in her life to three men (Keith, Frank and Owen who has come to the college) to maybe one man. The mystery is cleverly designed so that the beautiful but clearly strong Heidi seems to havs committed the crime as she and the victim had issues, were arguing, and her bracelet was found on him; strength, size, and height being a key reason why she is a prime suspect and Laura is not. Fans will enjoy this entertaining Massachusetts frolic as the art of the heroine’s late grandfather becomes the center of the conflict.