Saturday, June 23, 2012

All the Pretty Hearses

All the Pretty Hearses
Mary Daheim
Avon Books
Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-135159-4
$ 7.99
304 pages

Judith McMonigle Flynn stays busy owning and running Hillside Manor, a local bed-and-breakfast. Besides that she cares for her highly overly opinionated mother who does not like Judith's present husband. Fortunately, her cousin Renie, is a great friend and helps out even though she is known for being a horrible cook and wants to submit her special recipe of Shrimp Dump for the fund-raising cookbook of the local parish school.

Judith also has an uncanny ability for solving crime. This seems to come natural even though her husband, Joe, is a retired policeman who now works as a private investigator.

Judith is reluctantly remembering her upcoming obligation for the B & B in which she offered the facility to the top bidder at the parish school fundraiser. The winning family whose name is Paine is planning on filling the house but have numerous requirements such as one that eats no meat and one that has to sleep with a special pillow.

Joe currently has a surveillance job for insurance fraud when he is
arrested. The person he was observing is shot with Joe's gun. Added to that, Joe does not want Judith involved so he basically is hiding out at the police station as the investigation continues.

While preparing for the Paines, Judith has two wealthy neighbors appear who need somewhere to stay for the night. The Beard-Smythes are overbearing, overly demanding, and call a neighbor so they can have a ladder to sneak out without paying.

All the Pretty Hearses is a realistic mystery with interwoven threads that connect eventually. The problems Judith encounters are normal for someone who daily runs a B & B.

The story is well-developed, well-edited, and well organized. Mary Daheim obviously spent much time planning each of these threads, interweaving, and completing each one.

Mary Richardson Daheim is from Seattle, Washington and sets her stories involving Judith in her own locale. She even owns a century-old house like the one used in this bed and breakfast mystery. She has published well over twenty books with this A Bed- and-Breakfast Mystery and her Alpine Mystery series.

All the Pretty Hearses is a hectic, but enjoyable and fun book to read.

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