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1 July 2014

Worldwide Mystery, paperback, September 1994.

I picked this up in a bookarama in 2007 and some time later heard that the author was dead. I was annoyed about that, as I was also given to understand that this was her only book. I liked the background and the characters and muttered again my mantra that, ‘good authors have no right to stop writing or die!’ What was my surprise when looking up something else, I found that the lady had gone on to write four further books in this series before her death in 2005. I now need to see if I can lay hands on those. Would anyone who can offerme  paperbacks of the other 1-4 either free, in swap for a book or two of mine, or at a fair price, let me know.

The mystery’s background locale is the small town of Purple Sage, Jolie Wyatt is very recently divorced from her second husband and Jolie and her son Jeremy (from her first marriage) are living in the town now, and not on the Wyatt ranch with Matt. Jolie is managing, having a job as campaign manager for her friend Diane’s husband who is running for mayor and attending meetings of the Purple Sage Mystery Wtriters group. All is well until the judge, regarded as the patron saint of Purple Sage is murdered, using the exact method and poison Jolie created for the mystery novel she’s writing. So was her method stolen by one of the writers, by the policeman who helped with her research, or by someone they told? And why should anyone kill an old man who had done so much for the town? Or was he, perhaps, not quite the saint that everyone claimed him to be?

For her own sake as chief suspect, Jolie starts investigating, and finds that either the town really believes she did it, or someone is stirring up the inhabitants against her. A rock through a car window, an physical attack on Jolie in the dark of her own garage, a car following her, where will it end, in her death or her discovery of the killer, and what about Matt, her ex-husband who is still around? I liked this book, it was a good read with interesting characters, a clever murder method, and well-written peripherals such as the other writers in Jolie’s group, the Mayoral campaign, and the problems that Jeremy has with his mother being chief suspect. I recommend it (and hope to lay hands on the other four at some stage.)

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