Eugenia Lovett West
Minotaur, Dec 1 2009, $25.99
In Boston, Widow Emma Streat tries to start anew as she grieves the death of her husband Lewis, the destruction of their house, and the loss of her singing voice. The former Diva suddenly receives an SOS from Cathy Riordan in Venice, Italy to intervene before her opera singing niece Vanessa Metcalf makes a terrible miscue; Vanessa’s assistant insists Emma’s relative is risking her career to run away with a racing driving wealthy womanizer.
Mark Dykstra, Vanessa’s accompanist, hangs himself to the shock and horror of the three women. Emma’s lover British espionage agent Lord Rodale quietly investigates the death as he also arranges for the aunt and niece to fly to Massachusetts. As a second murder occurs, Vanessa becomes ill from what is apparently the avian flu.
The second Emma Streat amateur sleuth tale (see Without Warning) is an engaging cozy as the fortyish heroine connects the seemingly unlinked dots. The story line is fun to follow though somewhat passive as Mrs. Streat works the case from a distance. Fans of cerebral couch potatoes whodunits will enjoy the efforts of Mrs. Streat to identify who the killer is and why.