by Sharon Tucker
If you choose to see the New Year in with amateur sleuths Lord Peter Wimsey, Christine Bennett or professional Edward X. Delaney, count on a body turning up for the holiday. Whether our investigators’ services are requested or they just happen to be in the neighborhood where a body is discovered, each is relentless in pursuit of the truth in his or own fashion. As he tells Harriet Vane when they meet in prison, Lord Peter simply enjoys “investigating things.” Christine Bennett begins her avocation as an investigator shortly after leaving the religious life, in defense of twin savants, separated and unjustly incarcerated for decades. Captain Edward X. Delaney of the NYPD initially comes to readers briefly in Lawrence Sanders’ The Anderson Tapes, and by The Fourth Deadly Sin, he is an elder statesman of his profession—simply the best.
The Nine Tailors begins on New Year’s Eve when Lord Peter and his manservant Bunter are traveling through England’s Fen Country and find themselves in need of help. Subsequent to their rescue from an icy accident, they become involved in the discovery of a disfigured body and the search for a long lost emerald necklace. The plot thickens as neither flood, death nor war crimes prove daunting to Lord Peter, ably seconded by Bunter, in solving both the murder and the theft.
In The Good Friday Murder, former nun Christine Bennett inherits a house in upstate New York, only to find that her new home Oakwood is contesting the relocation of Green Willow Home to their fair town. The town council’s primary objection centers on one of the home’s residents who has been accused but never tried for murder and was placed in custodial care for a murder committed forty years ago. Since Bennett’s nephew is a Green Willow resident, she is drawn into investigating an old case of apparent injustice and a present day case of prejudice against the mentally challenged. She may have left the convent behind, but the calm rectitude she evidences in searching for truth in the face of a fearful community is an example to us all.
Retired New York Police Captain Edward X. Delaney in The Fourth Deadly Sin, is drawn into what seems to be an insoluble murder. A wealthy psychiatrist is found murdered in his office, the list of suspects is legion and administrative careers hang in the balance of solving this high profile case. To the reader’s delight, Delaney’s instinct for solving murders is just as sharp here as it is in the novels preceding it and the old warrior is best suited to win the day yet again.
As the New Year approaches, there’s no better way to begin celebrating the holiday than with detectives we know and love or new ones we are just getting to know and love. We can all celebrate the beginning of another chance to get it right together.
Check out other mystery and fantasy related articles, reviews & short stories in our Books & Tales category. You can also find a lot of Halloween fun this entire month!
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