Friday, November 12, 2010

Back to School Murder by Leslie Meier

This is the next book in the Lucy Stone series.  Lucy is working for Ted at the Pennysaver while his regular secretary is off looking after her ill mother. Part of her job is to listen to the police scanner and she can't believe her ears when she hears that a bomb threat has been called in to the elementary school where her second youngest, Sara, is spending her first day in grade 2. 

She rushes to the school to see all of the children evacuated and safe. Things are still quiet and under control when the new vice principle, Carol  Crane, is seen rushing back into the building and comes out carrying a special needs child. She has just exited the building when the bomb goes off. She falls to the ground sheltering the boy with her body. 

A real hero, and gorgeous too, all of the parents are extolling her virtues. The other teachers and the janitor at the school, however, have a different attitude about her. Lucy sees Carol's other side when she goes snooping around during a school board meeting. Her mysteryar is immediately peeked and she wants to find out more about this mysterious woman.

A few days later Carol doesn't show up for work and Lucy hears on the police scanner that there has been a homicide. She rushes to the address and finds that it is Carol who has been murdered, smothered in her own bed when someone put a pillow over her face. 

Along with the main story of murder the book talks about Lucy's difficulties at home. Lack of money, being taken for granted now that she has 4 children (Baby Zoe is now two years old). Her husband doesn't like her working. Her job is to look after the house and the children says her husband Bill. And he is not pleased to arrive home and not have dinner on the table precisely at 6pm. 

When the suspect is arrested Lucy knows in her heart that the police have the wrong person. She does her regular snooping but gets much further now that she can tell people she is with the Pennysaver. No one has to know she isn't a reporter. She uses some very creative techniques to get information. Unfortunately none of it can be printed in the Pennysaver because there is nothing to back it up. 

Twists and turns, one of my favortie parts of Leslie's stories, take us from suspecting one person and then another. For the first time there is an incident that kind of leans me in the direction of one person as the killer. He has an alibi but it still niggles at me throughout the book. 

Of course I didn't know why he would kill Carol because we don't know that much about her past or her relationships, but right at the last minute the connection to the killer is revealed. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trick or Treat Murder - Leslie Meier

This is the third in the Lucy Stone Mystery series. It appears there is an arsonist on the lose in Tinker's Cove. One of the first fires did little damage while the 2nd destroyed an old barn completely. The third fire was in an old house that was being restored by "summer people", vacationers who only came to Tinker's Cove in the nice months. It too was total destruction with only a part of the chimney remaining. When the police scanned the rubble the K-9 found that there had been someone in the house at the time of the fire. The owner had had a fight with her husband and unbeknownst to anyone had driven to Tinker's Cove to take refuge in the house. 

Because this now meant manslaughter or even murder rather than plain arson the fires were given more attention. Suspects were questioned, held, let free, and Lucy of course did her own snooping into what she was convinced was a case of murder. 

Lucy's husband Bill is invited to join the Tinker's Cove Historic District Commission chaired by cranky and immoveable old Miss Tilley. The results of Miss Tilley's strict adherence to the rules of the commission, ones that made sense or not, bring forth another bunch of possible candidates for the arsonist. 

After the local Halloween Festival, just when Lucy thought life had slowed down a bit she found herself alone with and at the mercy of the real arsonist. Things really heated up for her and it was thanks to her son and his friends that she made it out alive. 

Seeing as this is a series and it would have to end if anything happened to Lucy we all know that she comes out shaken but unscathed in the end. 

I'm still finding Leslie Meier's books to be fast paced enough to give edge of your seat excitement and yet still remain true to the concept of being a "cozy" mystery. She knows just how to twist and turn to keep you guessing to the last chapter. 

Off to read the next one. I can't get enough.