Harlequin, Aug 1 2010, $7.99
The small seaside English village of Blackpool attracts tourists as the prime source of revenue, but the long time residents conceal dark secrets from the visitors by keeping their distance behind a veneer of privacy. Beneath the cozy pristine surface setting lies darkness. Husband and wife team Brit Michael and Yank Molly like real curious puzzles. Molly stumbles on a conspiracy when she announces a project that stirs the passion of the locals as she and her husband are undesirable outsiders.
She informs the townsfolk that she hired director Simon Winegrath to make a documentary Operation Pied Piper. In 1940, a train carrying women, children and gold was coming to Blackpool to escape the London bombings when it wrecked. Valuable paintings and a child vanished. Several local families are concerned with the filming; especially the Sterling brood whose child was the one who vanished. Also interested is the Crowe family as their patriarch was in charge of safekeeping the treasures and so he was accused of theft when much of the valuables vanished. Then are other people who prefer no filming of what happened in 1940. For those involved with the documentary, danger mounts as murder is a tool of someone who wants what happened seven decades ago to remain silent.
Fans of British village cozies will find Stolen stimulating as leads to what happened in 1940 seem to dead end. M and M are a loving pair whose warm relationship adds positive spice to the dark seaside town. However the key to this well constructed historiographic whodunit is the natives of Blackpool as the audience struggles like Molly to get passed the metaphysical trench to figure out who the villains are now and then.