Munro (Murder Under the Microscope, 2018, etc.) brings her sleuthing pathologist back to investigate a disappearance in a spooky mansion in this, the sixth novel in the Toni Day mystery series.
This new adventure finds noted murder-solving pathologist Toni Day away from her usual haunt of Twin Falls, Idaho, and back in her hometown of Long Beach, California. At the request of her mother, Toni is in town to solve the disappearance of Dick Campbell, the new husband of her mother’s friend Doris. Doris believes it has something to do with the old MacTavish house that the couple has been living in, a mansion inherited from Dick’s great-uncle. “Voices coming out of nowhere,” Toni’s mother explains of Doris’ experience. “Furniture moving around by itself. Things falling off shelves and breaking. Things disappearing and reappearing. Doris felt as if she were losing her mind, because Dick never noticed anything, never heard the voices, and told her she was just imagining things.” Toni, with the help of her husband, Hal, and stepfather Nigel, explores the house, discovering arsenic that they think might be behind Doris’ recent health problems. The case gets more complicated, however, when Doris falls into a coma. It appears that the old MacTavish house has more surprises than Toni initially suspected, including a dark history that might explain what happened to its inhabitants…and what might happen to Toni as well. Munro’s narration—from the point of view of Toni—is sharp and highly readable, mixing humor with a bit of the macabre. When Toni suggests that the blood found at the bottom of the dumbwaiter shaft points to the fact that someone likely died there, the British Nigel explains that “Actually, that’s called a hoistway….Not a shaft.” With its modern pathology science and its gothic setting, the book makes for a classic haunted-house story with a satisfyingly credible forensic mystery at the heart of it. As with Toni’s past adventures, Munro offers a wonderful bit of escapism.
An entertaining haunted-house mystery with a few modern twists.