A bartender at a Florida VFW post who’s already been written up more than once for her bad attitude gets called out once again when she’s suspected of murdering one of her customers.
Maggie Lewis isn’t much to look at, and she’ll never see 40 again, or even 45. But that’s no reason she should get railroaded when the body of Jack Hoffman, a Korean War vet who’d long been one of the mainstays of the North DeSoto VFW post where Maggie handles the night shift, is discovered inside the truck he’d parked outside the night before. Sure, Maggie had had words with prickly Jack from time to time, just like everyone who knew him. And it’s definitely one of her hair ties that North DeSoto police chief Bobby Lee plucks from the floor of Jack’s truck. But such wispy evidence is hardly enough reason for Bobby Lee to take her downtown for questioning or for the board of the post to suspend her without pay pending further developments, like a confession from somebody else. Unable to trust Bobby Lee, who was never able to solve the murder of Maggie’s husband, Rob, to do any better on this one, and eager to clear her name before she dies of old age, Maggie asks her tenant, not-yet-licensed private eye Michael Bradley, to give her a hand looking under rocks for possible motives and suspects in Jack’s killing even though she wonders how she’ll ever be able to pay him with no money coming in. Romance doesn’t bloom, but there are definite sparks, and alert readers will win bar bets of their own if they bank on hearing more about this couple down the road (maybe even solving Rob’s murder in a future installment).
Meantime, Matter’s debut provides mystery lite and forgettable suspects but a heroine who’s not only feisty, but sometimes downright funny as well.