The murder of an inept and unpopular police chief leaves a pair of amateur sleuths in charge.
Much to the shock and dismay of Donna Galbreath and her next-door neighbor Cyrus Bates, the town council of Cedar Harbor, Wash., has rehired Chief Donniker and is even throwing a party to honor him when the festivities are interrupted by his death by monkshood poisoning. The pair quickly agrees to search for the guilty party once the sheriff in charge of the case arrests fellow police officer Jake Santorini, a man Donna and Cyrus had expected to be named as police chief. Since Jake was heard uttering insults and acting strangely at the party, he’s the most likely suspect, one with access to the police property room from which the deadly monkshood could well have come. When a homeless newcomer is attacked and almost dies and Donna and Cyrus are victims of a severed brake line, it’s clear that the case has turned dangerous. But the determined sleuths ignore police warnings and continue to dig around in town secrets until they reveal the killer.
The bourgeoning romance between Johnson’s delightful older sleuths (Donna Rose and the Slug War, 2005) is likely to make them even more popular with the cozy crowd.