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A sprightly debut, whose rickety plotting is more than compensated for by its winsome character vignettes. Warily circling 60, Mildred Bennett has just been left cold by her philandering husband and, to compound her distress, must dismantle her recently deceased mother's house in rural Connecticut. Back where she grew up, Mildred soon bumps into aging retired police chief Haggarty, who points out the spot where Agnes Peabody, so starved for love that she placed an ad in the local Personals, was just murdered. Chief Haggarty thinks she was the victim of a serial killer, at work for 30 years or so. With the help of Mildred, crotchety practical nurse Irene Purdy, and gentle widower Trevor Bradford, Haggarty zeroes in on the respondees to Agnes's ad--all stalwart town citizens. Or are they? A few passionate interludes later (Irene loves the Chief; Mildred is attracted to a newsman with a past, Clyde Thompson), the golden-agers straggle through alibis, red herrings, and, alas, interference from family members (who think them quite senile) before they nail the well-respected killer. Despite the repetition and motivational creaks, McShea has a lively grasp of dialogue--and her geriatric quartet of sleuths is warmly appealing.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's