All The Pretty Hearses
Morrow, Aug 9 2011, $23.99
The owner of Hillside Manor Judith McMonigle Flynn is upset and angry when her mother tells her that her husband Joe was arrested and taken away in handcuffs. Joe, a retired police detective turned private investigator was watching a man on a houseboat to see if the person was confined to a wheelchair or committing fraud. The insurance case closed when someone killed the target with a Smith and Wesson.
Joe’s gun is the murder weapon, which obviously means he is the prime suspect. Judith knows something else is going on because Joe fails to ask for a lawyer and the police refuse to respond to her questions. To take her mind off Joe’s problems, she works diligently to get her B&B ready for the Paine family gathering hosted by Judith who donated the weekend at the school auction bought by the matriarch of the clan. The various members don’t get along and Zachery gets ill; his wife takes him home. In a strange twist, the body of the shooting victim turns out to be Zachery, which makes Judith wonder who the man at her house was. She starts sleuthing and learns secrets about Joe’s predicament, the Paine activities and the ulterior motives of two families staying at the B&B. Teaming up with her cousin Rennie, Judith finds out why Joe is in police custody, which fails to explain why her B&B guests contain plenty of criminals who have tentacles into the state government.
As usual, Mary Daheim writes a great cozy filled with red herrings and false leads. A number of people at the B&B are using the place for reasons they keep secret, but Judith figures out who an innocent guest is and who has agendas. All The Pretty Hearses is a super amateur sleuth with great characterizations and a delightful mystery filled with red herrings and unexpected twists.