Old friends become suspects when a working-class Tacoma teen investigates his mother’s murder.
When Seth’s mother, Eve, is found dead in her Jeep, the police think it’s pretty clear who’s responsible. Eve had quarreled with her best friend, Miss Irene, on the day she died, and Miss Irene has disappeared. Seth can’t believe Miss Irene is guilty, so he begins his own search for the killer. Having grown up poor in Tacoma’s rough Hilltop neighborhood, 16-year-old Seth is tough and street-smart, but trouble finds him quickly when he starts asking questions about his mother’s last day. It doesn’t help that he’s recently begun dating the beautiful Azura Lear, whose wealthy father and popular friends very much disapprove of their relationship. Seth’s determination and grit make him an appealing protagonist, but other key characters lack depth, especially poor little rich girl Azura. Llewellyn’s love for the Tacoma setting is evident in the barrage of local detail incorporated into the story, and local fans will appreciate the many references to well-known personalities, places, and businesses. Other readers may find the detailed descriptions (which at times include turn-by-turn driving directions) tedious at best. The actual murder mystery is fairly simple, and many readers will identify the murderer long before Seth does.
Read this mystery more for its local interest than its plot. (Mystery. 12-17)