Five Star, April 2003, 25.95, 248 pp.
Ogeechee, Georgia with its population of 3,412 is just right for Trudy Roundtree who returned home after the death of her husband. She is the only female police officer in Ogeechee. She visits friends clearing a dump when an old icebox flies open and the body of a dead woman is found stuffed inside.
The autopsy shows that a blow to the head murdered the victim at least twenty years ago. Trudy has no idea of the identity of the woman but as she looks at back issues of the Ogeechee Beacon she notices that in 1969 a Donnie Burkhalton died in an automobile accident. She later discovers that his fiancée dumped him and disappeared on the same day. Dental records show that Donnie's fiancée is the victim. Although the case is over three decades old, Trudy is determined to see justice done by catching a killer.
DEATH AND THE ICEBOX is a cozy police procedural that gives an accurate depiction of what life is like in a small southern town. The heroine is independent, upbeat and believes police work is her calling. The mystery itself is complex and intricately woven into the story line and there is a plethora of suspects but the stumbling block in figuring out who the killer is comes down to motive. Nobody, at least on the surface, had any reason to see the woman dead. So Trudy has to delve deeper and recreate events that happened years ago. Using people's unreliable memories, Linda Berry knows how to keep her readers' interested so that they finish the book in one sitting.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner