Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review: A Misty Mourning by Rett MacPherson

A Misty Mourning by Rett MacPherson (book 4 of the Torie O'Shea Mysteries)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 255
Date Published: September 2000
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Source: Paperback Swap
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book description (from IndieBound):
A ten-hour car trip with your eighty-year-old grandmother is never much fun, especially if you're seven months pregnant. But when Torie O'Shea's longtime family friend Clarissa Hart Campbell insists that she and Grandma Gert come for a visit at her West Virginia boarding house, they just can't say no to the 101-year-old dynamo.
Upon their arrival, Torie and Gert find Clarissa has called together her entire family for the reading of her new will. But everything's happening too fast, even for Clari: the next morning, she's found murdered in bed. The new will stands, and her lawyer follows through on the old woman's wishes to settle an eighty-year-old debt to Torie's great-grandmother: The Panther Run Boarding House now belongs to Torie. Mystified, Torie must put her genealogy skills to work to determine what secrets worth killing for may be hiding in the dilapidated boarding house and the Campbell family story-before it's too late.
A comical blend of history and homicide, A Misty Mourning is another delightfully witty entry in Rett MacPherson's popular cozy series.
I've been reading Rett MacPherson's Torie O'Shea Mysteries in order over the last couple of years, starting with Family Skeletons. This is the first one I've actually reviewed for this blog. It seems like with every book I read in this series, they get better and better.

Torie O'Shea is a fabulous character. She is a certified genealogist, historian, historic house tour guide, and mother. MacPherson has written this quirky and witty character in a way that makes her seem real and genuine. She's also so nosy that she can't help but find herself embroiled in mysteries--in this book she finds herself a suspect in a homicide because she was the first person to discover the body, and then just happened to be in the dead woman's will. From there, Torie decides to try to unravel why she was in the will, which leads her to dig into the history of the Panther Run Boarding House and the coal mining industry in the area. It all leads to some interesting and unexpected connections between the boarding house lodgers and others in the small town.

Besides the fun characters, the mystery was compelling. Who killed Clarissa Hart? But also, how were some of these people in town connected to her? How did the town's history play a part in her death? I was kept guessing the entire time (something I love about mysteries), and the unveiling of the killer caught me off-guard. It was an unexpected twist, and was well-done for a cozy mystery.

I love how this series makes me laugh out loud while I'm reading. I was laughing by the first line: "You know you're pregnant when the only towel in the house that will wrap around your ever-enlarging midsection is your husband's Batman beach towel." Ah, yes, I do remember that lovely stage of pregnancy. This was a really fun and quick read, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series, one that I have no qualms about suggesting.

Related linkage:
Reading Challenges: Twenty Ten Challenge (TBR)



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