Mira, Dec 2001, 22.95, 480 pp.
In 1979 Havenwood, Minnesota, a fire kills long time British expatriate Grace Meade. The police believe her daughter Jillian killed her mother. FBI Special Agent Alex Cruz arrives from DC to question Grace about the deaths of her mother and two other British women, who were companions of Grace in the World War II French Resistance. They both died following a visit from Jillian. Alex's interrogation results in his inability to obtain any useful information from a tacit Jillian locked away for her own protection after an attempted suicide.
Alex soon learns that Jillian was researching her mother's role in World War II and that is why she met with the now deceased women. He finds her journal of notes and uses that as a springboard to try to learn whether Jillian is a serial killer or just an easy mark of someone who wants the three plus decades of events in France to remain silent.
DEADLY GRACE is an engaging historical police procedural that fans who relish good detective work will find inviting because the FBI agent and the prime suspect are strong interesting protagonists. However, the tale hinges on the characterization of Grace, but she fails to come across as real, hurting the overall plot. In spite of that, the story line is crisp and the climax quite surprising and powerful so that sub-genre readers will enjoy Taylor Smith's latest work.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner