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MRS. MALORY: DEATH OF A DEAN by Hazel Holt

MRS. MALORY: DEATH OF A DEAN

By Hazel Holt

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-525-94150-9
Publisher: Dutton

 Once again, Sheila Malory, the village of Taviscombe's favorite widow (unable to say no to any request for a favor), is helping the inept, not to say inert, local police with their inquiries--this time in a murder case that hits close to home. Sheila had grown up with the victim--Francis Beaumont, Dean of Culminster Cathedral. His brother David, a once affluent, now hard- up actor, remains one of her closest friends. Francis, a tyrant to wife Joan, daughter Mary, and son Adrian, was poisoned by morphine, apparently while having tea (delivered by Joan) during an intense discussion with David on the subject of a valuable, jointly inherited property, now at last available for sale. The profits would salvage David's career, but Francis refused to sell, citing the low-ebb real-estate market. The church's congregation may mourn the loss of their handsome, charismatic leader, but Francis had also thwarted Mary's dream of partnering a riding stable and Adrian's hopes for independence and a loving family of his own. Even adoring, subservient wife Joan was sorely tried by her husband's well-hidden illicit affairs over the years. There are interesting questions being raised, too, by the Cathedral's treasurer. Sheila, probing these turbulent waters, makes her share of wrong guesses, but quickly zooms in on the rather clumsily manipulated final twist that provides the answer she seeks. The politely lethal mixture is, as before (Mrs.Malory Wonders Why, 1995, etc.), bland, literate, and engaging, but Sheila's seventh outing is strengthened this time by gutsier than usual plotlines. A delectable treat for cozy lovers, British style.