A reporter in a small New England town investigates a series of murders tied to a local old-age home in Cook’s (A Nose for Hanky Panky, 2014, etc.) third Granite Cove mystery.
Rose McNichols is a local newspaper reporter and, in her spare time, a stand-up comic. One afternoon, her comedy gig at the Shady Nook Retirement Home is interrupted when Greta Dupnik, one of the patients, is found dead in her bed, crushed by an overturned bookcase. Greta’s roommate, Mabel Smithwick, says that the death was not an accident. She also believes that she, Mabel, was the intended victim—because she was an eyewitness to another murder several months before. Intrepid reporter that she is, Rose decides to look into Mabel’s allegations. It becomes clear that there’s something to them, because it isn’t long before Mabel is dead, too. All signs point to the involvement of Mabel’s wealthy family—her wastrel son, Edmund Jr.; his late-life wife, Sonia; and Sonia’s son from a previous marriage, Otto Gurwitz, a cartoonist with an internet following. But murder isn’t the only thing that Rose has on her plate; there’s also her romance with a talented musician named Kevin Healey and a flirtation with Forester Fairbank, a newcomer to Granite Cove who books her to perform at an old garage that he’s turned into a club. The author has written a very low-key mystery that’s set to the slower rhythms of small-town life. Along the way, readers get plenty of local color and many vivid local characters, several of whom are suspects in the mystery plot. Whether it’s a newspaper office or an old-age home, the author manages to inject a convincing sense of reality into her imaginary settings. And even if Rose isn’t the world’s greatest stand-up comic, she still manages to show how resourceful she is in bringing a killer to justice. Now, if only she could remember the punch line to that pantyhose joke.
A cozy whodunit that makes Granite Cove a congenial place for readers to visit.