Kensington, Aug 2002, 22.00, 288 pp.
The townsfolk of Tinker's Cove, Maine are excited over the upcoming Miss Tilley Day celebrating the retired librarian's ninetieth birthday. Especially feeling pretty good about the bash as well as her resolve to war with the aging process is Pennysaver reporter, amateur sleuth, wife and mother Lucy Stone.
However, the elation is tampered with the news that attorney Sherman Cobb died. State police detective Horowitz concludes suicide, but Sherman's partner Bob Goodman thinks otherwise. He asks Lucy to investigate the death even as she must deal with domestic non-tranquillity, as each member of her family demands her time and effort pulling her in different directions.
BIRTHDAY PARTY MURDERS is a solid ninth Lucy Stone entry as the intrepid juggler precariously balances her work, the big gala, the investigation, and her family woes in a way that only a mother (or a single dad) would fully appreciate. The story line is cleverly designed so that the cops believe suicide while the partner refuses to accept that verdict even though the victim had pancreatic cancer. Though the who-done-it is fun, it's the cast from feisty Miss Tilley to a guilt feeling Bob for not thanking his partner for bringing him into the firm to others that make trips to Tinker's Cove more than just a cozy visit.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner