Dead on Arrival
Five Star, Jan 2010, $25.95
In Memphis, Tennessee Horace Murphy dies in a motorcycle accident. He leaves behind his widow Maggie with financial issues as her health care ends in sixty days and counting down. Her Aunt Myrtle calls in a blood kin threat favor with her Cuz Hank Hanover at the Herald. Maggie temporarily replaces columnist Fritz Wartz who has failed to show up for work in a couple days. The job becomes permanent when she finds her predecessor’s corpse neat the paper’s dumpster; the Star of David etched into his forehead.
Police detectives Joe Driver and Alan Hill lead the inquiry. Maggie investigates the hate homicide. She is grateful to Joe who looks into Horace's death although he is convinced before he begins the cute widow’s spouse died in an accident. That changes when someone firebombs her home just after she moved out and she was in an accident that suddenly looks sinisterly deliberate.
This is an entertaining zany paranormal cozy in which “Pollyanna”, the ghost of her late husband, the cop, her aunt, Evil Elvira and others investigate the two deaths that impact the heroine. Although Maggie fails to come across as a grieving desperate widow under siege from unknown adversaries and spirits as she is always rosy optimism, even when she gets irritated at someone she tells them off in a kindhearted manner; still fans will root for her. Readers who delight in something a bit different will enjoy her southern sleuthing with living, dead, and a few difficult to say which side of the spectrum they reside on as her compatriots.