A Halloween bank robbery by a killer in a clown suit strikes fear into the denizens of a California town.
Mary McGill and her cocker spaniel, Millie, have earned a reputation as crime solvers (Blood Red, White and Blue, 2017, etc.). Despite her experience, Mary is stricken when the sound of what she thinks are firecrackers coming from the bank turns out to be gunfire. She arrives just in time to see a woman lying in a pool of blood, her beloved nephew-in-law, Police Chief Dan Dunham, wounded, and the clown responsible racing off and vanishing. With Dan laid up with a badly wounded shoulder, Mary must use her skills to find the killer of talented dressmaker Victoria Witherspoon, whom the clown shot twice for unknown reasons. Mary, a retired schoolteacher busy with many town activities, has an extensive knowledge of the town and its residents that she hopes will help her discover a motive. Unfortunately, a detective sent from out of town to work the case doesn’t care for any help from Mary and her friends. When Mary goes to Victoria’s shop to check on the wedding gown she made for a friend of Mary’s from the dog world, she discovers material and a pattern for a clown costume. The bank teller thinks Victoria might have been killed because she made the costume and recognized the robber. Victoria’s log book reveals that she made four clown costumes but used only initials to indicate their purchasers. Despite the obstacles she faces, Mary’s happy to get help from Dan’s team, including newcomer Janelle Tucker. Eventually Mary learns enough to put her in danger before the killer is finally cornered.
Not much of a mystery but a charming read, especially for dog lovers.