Friday, June 6, 2014

A Multitude of Sins

A Multitude of Sins
A Conan Flagg Mystery Book Two
M. K. Wren
Original Publication in 1975
Publication by Martha K. Renfroe
Untreed Reads Publishing
$ 5.99
192 pages

Conan Flagg lives a quiet life a the sole proprietor of Holliday Beach Book Shop and Rental Library in a peaceful seaside village in Oregon.  He enjoys reading about adventures rather than actually immersing his life into danger.   He values his books and his office which has been sound proofed so that he can truly enjoy his music.   Occasionally he does not mind using his previously learned skills which were useful while he was in the military and agrees to be a private investigator for the select cases were he questions the local law enforcement.

A mysterious letter appears at the bookstore requesting a private meeting with Conan at his house.  Curious, Conan contacts his housekeeper asking that she leave the back unlocked.  As he arrives home, imagine his surprise to hear the harmonic tones of his Steinway grand being played by a gifted  pianist.

Isodora Canfield has lived an elite life as the daughter of a recently deceased Senator.   Her talent and musical abilities have been well-respected within the community.   For some reason, Isodora feels that she is being followed.  Being that she has been diagnosed as being mentally ill, she realizes that this could be her imagination, but really believes that it is not.   Added to that, as Conan entered his home earlier, he had noticed a parked car watching his house.   Why would someone be following her?

A Multitude of Sins is a well-written, fast-paced mystery with a strong understanding of the world of the professional musician and artist.   These few gifted people who reach to heights of respect are frequently a mystery to the rest of the normal people.  Their lives are centered around their gifts which can also be a burden.

The strength of this novel is the characterization of creating believable people who come to life off the page.   M. K. Wren possesses this gift especially with the descriptions of the pianist and the painter with the insightfulness of someone with this background.   The imagery is phenomenal in that you can almost hear the pianist and visualize the paintings.

Also adding to the realism is the author's descriptions of the extremely wealthy lifestyle while carefully removing each layer of money which covers the imperfect world of greed within their personal relationships.

A Multitude of Sins is the second novel featuring Conan Flagg following Curiosity Did Not Kill the Cat.   This novel can be read as part of the series or as a standalone since the author explains the introductory characters and relationships briefly at the beginning.  

What I found interesting though was the setting of the novel taking place in the 1970s through the use of home telephones and phone booths which did not date the book, but added to the authenticity of the life style of the time.

M. K. Wren in the pen-name of Oregon writer Martha K. Renfroe who has written many mysteries and science fiction novels.

A Multitude of Sins is an insightful novel into mental illness, artistry, and the lives of the wealthy taking its readers back into life in the 1970s.

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