Pocket, Feb 2004, 5.99, 304 pp.
After more than two decades of marriage, Catherine Perry had no idea that her husband was seeing another woman or that he wanted a divorce so he can cohabitate with his new Barbie doll. After the divorce was finalized, Catherine could no longer live in New York City with the memories all around her. She moves to the quaint English village of Far Wychwood so she could spend quality time with her daughter, her English son-in-law, and especially her grandson.
Her cottage is lovely if isolated and her nearest neighbor is irascible George Crocker an irritating old man who Catherine rescued when his curtains caught on fire. She becomes immersed in village life and is upset that the vicar is having the historic cross in the cemetery moved so a youth center can be built. When the digging starts, the buried skeleton of a murdered man is found and a few days later, George's house catches fire. Catherine drags the body out and sees that it was arson to cover up a murder. Her inquisitiveness brings her to the attention of a murderer who has killed twice and will not hesitate to kill again.
ARSON AND OLD LACE is the first installment in an exciting new English cozy series that is an enthralling mystery. The delightful way the sleuth brings the doings of the villagers to life is absorbing and colorful. Readers get a real feel for the intimacy inherent in such a lifestyle while also adoring the sixty year old heroine, dumped by her husband for a younger model. Patricia Harwin is a gifted storyteller and readers will want to continue reading this colorful series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner