by Cynthia Chow
This week we have reviews & giveaways of two mysteries by Molly MacRae. Details at the end of this post on how to win copies of both, and links to purchase them.
Wilder Rumors: A Lewis Wilder Mystery By Molly MacRae
Review by Cynthia Chow
Lewis Wilder may enjoy being the only curator at Tennessee’s Nolichucky Jack History Museum, but he is definitely not appreciating the rumors circulating that he fundraises through his activities as a cat burglar! The “Fox” has been stealing valuable heirlooms from homes in the area, and anonymous cash donations mailed regularly to the museum have locals buzzing that Lewis must be the culprit. Sheriff Paul Glaser is making no secret of his suspicions, and when a loud-mouthed car dealer is murdered after having an argument with Lewis, it’s not a surprise that he’s a likely suspect.
Lewis keeps his personal life private and is very closed-mouthed about his past, even with Marilyn Wooten, the woman he’s been dating, who is a little surprised to learn that he has an aunt living close by—but with whom he hasn’t spoken in eight or nine years. With evidence mounting against him, he returns to his roots for answers, and it is here that readers are treated to an array of characters that, for Lewis’ own good, break down his protective barriers and force themselves back into his life.
Descriptions and details about the museum are fascinating, but far more entertaining is the slow unfolding of Lewis’ personality and life. Marilyn has managed to get past a few of his defenses, yet she too stumbles a bit in their relationship. The characters in this Blue Mountain Ridge town are what make this a charming and delightful novel: the snappy banter between Marilyn and Lewis is reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles, and the barbed dialogue he has with formers friends and family is similarly snappy and fun.
Perhaps most enjoyable is how the author deftly takes her time revealing Lewis Wilder’s past life, creating a character who continues to fascinate ever after the last page is turned. Hopefully this is the start of a long-running series!
Lawn Order: A Margaret & Bitsy Mystery By Molly MacRae
Review by Cynthia Chow
When a dead pigeon is dumped on the bookstore counter of Blue Plum Books, owner Margaret Welch is not surprised that her sister Bitsy Decker has something to do with it. Bitsy’s brought the body in as evidence of a mass poisoning, attributing the deaths to Doug “Duckie” Everett, a member of the Progress through Paving Party (not its real name). Margaret knows better than to question Bitsy’s thought processes, although even she is becoming curious about the building owner’s interest in the history of local commercial property.
When a fire erupts in the Bank Tavern and a body is discovered inside, the sisters are—for once—not suspected. That honor goes instead to Gene Mashburn, an attractive newcomer who has quickly become attached to Margaret. Her former suitor, police sergeant George Buckles, warns Margaret off the possibly dipsomaniac charmer, but the fact that Gene is able to keep up with Margaret’s wit makes him irresistible.
Bitsy, however, finds much to resist, and she has no problem voicing her opinion as part of her campaign to improve Margaret’s life. Margaret bolsters herself against Bitsy’s eye-rolling demands with an acerbic sense of humor as well as welcome support from their elderly cousin Leona.
Short stories featuring the antics of Margaret Welch and her sister Bitsy Decker have been appearing since 1999, and here the author introduces many already-beloved characters. Behavior that might be questionable elsewhere is accepted as matter-of-fact in Stonewall, where eccentricities are the norm. While this may make living there a challenge, for readers it is pure pleasure.
In addition to A Haunted Yard House Mystery series, MacRae has written a Lewis Wilder mystery that takes place in the nearby Tennessee town of Nolichucky. I would love to see these two series interact, as the chaos the sisters would bring to the curator would be delightful to observe. Southern charm, insults slung through a veil of politeness, and incredibly funny and witty dialogue all prevail in this exuberant and very appealing mystery.
To enter to win a copy of both Molly MacRae books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Molly,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 9, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.