Sunday, January 2, 2011

Murder of a Bookstore Babe-Denise Swanson

Murder of a Bookstore Babe
Denise Swanson
Obsidian, Mar 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451232809

In Scumble River, Illinois school psychologist Skye Denison also serves as a consultant to the local police; whose chief is her fiancé Wally Boyd. He is grateful to her for her expert assistance on homicides cases (see Murder of a Wedding Belle) as her job and the fact she is related to most of the townsfolk have proven extremely helpful.

Tales and Treats bookstore opens up to the dismay of many locals. The proprietor Rise Vaughn has a dispute with Better Than New Autos owner Hugo Leofanti who illegally parks his merchandise in front of her store. The librarian fears people will go to the bookstore making the library obsolete. The insurance agent bills the new storeowner for a much higher premium than originally quoted. A teacher and her friends picket the store because Tales and Treats sell romances and YA fantasy and sci-fi. Skye enters the store one nigh and finds a woman lying face down on the floor with a bookcase on top of her. She is positive the victim is Rise. When she learns the deceased is popular employee Kayla Hines, Skye is shocked. Wally and Skye hypothesize that the intended victim was supposed to be Rise as anyone looking at the pair from behind could lethally err. However with so many angry at Rise, who murdered Kayla remains unknown.

The latest Scumble River mystery is a great puzzler as so many are irate with Rise but that same angry mob genuinely likes Kayla; thus the postulation that the wrong person was killed but there is no evidence to eliminate anyone in the crowd. Though Skye is a corpse magnet (see Murder of a Small-Town Honey), readers will admire her determination to find evidence to eliminate the suspect as she shares blood with many of the Fighting Illini suspects. Filled with humorous Prairie State eccentricity which include the heroine’s mom, May the dispatcher and her brother Vince the nag, fans will enjoy Skye’s latest case.

Harriet Klausner

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