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LAST PEN STANDING  by Vivian  Conroy


by Vivian Conroy

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4926-8403-9
Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Adultery! Blackmail! Murder! Paper crafting!

Delta Douglas’ dream comes true when her grandmother makes her a pre-inheritance gift that allows her to quit her job, move to Tundish, Montana, and go into business with her longtime friend Hazel Bray. Hazel’s stationery shop, Wanted, is located in an old sheriff’s office, complete with hitching post, and aims to keep up the traditions of a former gold-mining town. Delta joins Hazel in the Glitter Galore workshop at the Lodge, a high-end inn that’s been in the Taylor family for generations. Although Hazel, Delta, and their Paper Posse are supposed to keep out of sight of the elegantly attired guests at the annual gold-miner party, Delta strays far enough from the workshop to overhear a heated conversation between tipsy Vera White and her more sedate sister-in-law, two guests. When Vera’s found dead in the Lodge’s bar, both Hazel and her brother, Finn, are in trouble: Finn because he’s allegedly had an affair with Vera, and Hazel because she tries to cover for him. Finn, who works for the Taylors, is engaged to their younger daughter, though their elder, who manages the Lodge, disapproves. Their brother is a failed football star who’s come back to the family business. With the help of the Paper Posse, Delta uses paper products to create charts of possible suspects and motives and to try to figure out what Vera was doing in the bar, what she was hiding in a safe-deposit box, what bearing the tangled Taylor family dynamics have on Vera’s murder, and who has the goods on whom. An old-fashioned anonymous letter warning Delta off the case—and the help and support of a wildlife photographer/ex-cop and his retired K-9 partner—make her even more determined to clear Finn’s name and save Wanted in this series launch from Conroy (The Butterfly Conspiracy, 2018, etc.).

An undemanding cozy with a colorful setting, pleasant characters, a promise of romance, and some forgivable plot contrivances.