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Unleashed by Eileen Brady

Unleashed” is the second in the “A Kate Turner, D.V.M. Mystery” series by veterinarian-writer Eileen Brady.  Brady has succeeded in creating a multi-dimensional protagonist in Kate Turner who has the same struggles as many other young professionals who are trying to pay off student loans while building practices, becoming established in a community, making friends and building lasting relationships all within the confines of the 24 hour day in a small town environment.  Kate Turner just happens to add on top of all that an interest in helping the police (mostly without their support) solve murder mysteries.

In “Unleashed” one of Kate’s clients is killed and, once Kate proves it was murder and not suicide that did in her accomplished artist client, a mentally challenged aide at the vet clinic is blamed for the murder.  Kate knows that Eugene could not have been responsible for the death, even though he seemed to have confessed his guilt to the police.  There are lots of potential killers and many blind leads that Kate follows. Possible motives range from lover jealousy, to art forgeries and blackmail, family inheritance, to accidental and unintentional injury. Just as in her first Kate Turner book, there is a lot of tension, both of the legal and sexual kind, between Kate and police deputy Luke Gianetti.

I felt that the first book in this series was stronger, overall, than “Unleashed.”  I did not find the killer very convincing.  Without giving too much of a spoiler, the people who were in the killer’s circle are portrayed as innocent bystanders, and there is even a person who is being kept against his will who certainly would have been noticed in such a small community and might have come forward to spoil the plot. At the very least more should have been developed in the storyline surrounding the killer and his circle of associates in order to justify how the killer could have carried this off successfully.

I just don’t think aspects of the plot were well thought out, and for that reason it would have been better for the killer to have been someone who had equally strong motivation and seemed to fit the clues better.

That being said, I still enjoyed reading “Unleashed” and will look forward to seeing what happens in the next book.

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A Trio of Cosy Mysteries

I am hoping to catch up on my review writing by grouping some of the mysteries I have read over the past couple of months into related by somewhat shorter reviews.

The following books are Cosy mysteries with a strong sense of place and community.

Poisoned Ground” by Sandra Parshall is the sixth installment in the Rachel Goddard Mystery series.  Rachel Goddard is a veterinarian in rural  Blue Ridge Mountain Mason County, VA.  She makes a farm visit at the Kelly place and finds both Lincoln and Marie Kelly shot to death.  A packet of information from a resort company hoping to buy up a number of prime Mason County farms is found on the kitchen table.  The mystery revolves around determining whether pro-resort forces or anti-resort forces are behind the murders and stopping any further mayhem.  If the story was only about the struggle between pro-development sources and pro-agrarian forces it would be a story that has been told before, but there are many twists and turns and querky characters that make this plot much more interesting and unique.  Recommended.

Alan Beechey‘s “This Private Plot” is a British cosy set in the Cotswolds near Stratford-Upon-Avon and is part of Beechey’s Oliver Swithin Mysteries.  Oliver is a children’s book author who’s girlfriend, Effie, is a Scotland Yard detective. Oliver is also an amateur sleuth.  They are on their way to visit Oliver’s family in the Village of Synne when they come upon a body swinging on the end of a jump rope tied to the Synne hanging tree on the edge of town.  The initial conclusion is that the man hanged himself, but Effie and Oliver prove otherwise and thus also become targets of the killer.  The book is a little too punny for my tastes, but many who appreciate British humor, and all the references to Shakespeare will enjoy this book.  The mystery not only revolves around discovering who murdered Mr. Breedlove, but also seeing if Oliver’s brother, Toby, an archaeologist doing a dig in Stratford, can definitively prove the connection between Stratford Will Shakespeare and the London Will Shakespeare.  Once I got into the mystery, and especially the elements having to do with the historic mystery surrounding Shakespeare’s identity, this book grew on me and I give it at least one thumb up.

Death at the Door” by Carolyn Hart is the third in the “Death on Demand Bookstore Mysteries.”  Annie Darling is the owner of the Broward’s Rock bookstore while her husband, Max, operates a private investigation service.  There are the usual bevy of mystery loving members of the community who help Annie solve the most recent spate of Broward’s Rock murders.  First one of the island’s most respected doctors is shot and is at first thought to have committed suicide.  When the wife of a local artist is hammered to death by her husband’s sculpture mallet, Annie, Max and the island’s group of amateur sleuths make the connection between the two deaths and determine that the sheriff has the wrong guy locked up.  As usual, Hart has drafted an absorbing mystery with lots of potential suspects.  Again, recommended.

Liz Nichols






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