Perseverance Press. April 2003, 13.95, 288 pp.
In the year that Tori Miracle has lived in the small town of Lickin Creek, Pennsylvania, she has tried her best to fit in but her detractors blame her for the death of their beloved congressman and the destruction of the historical house and courthouse buildings. She still has hopes of being part of the community so she volunteers to write up the brochure for the stately homes tour.
For the first time, the group has managed to get permission to put Morgan Manner on the tour but when Tori and her best friend Alice Ann examine one of the outbuildings, they discover old bones covered in a tuxedo. Tori learns it is probably the body of Rodney Meellot, a high school music teacher, who eloped with the art teacher Emily Rakestraw. A few days later the remains of Emily are found in Bride's House. Tori is sure the two murderers are connected so she starts asking questions of the townsfolk and that is when the attempts on her life begin.
It has been a long time since a Tori Miracle Pennsylvania Dutch mystery has been published but it has been well worth the wait. DEATH, BONES, AND STATELY HOMES is a charming cozy with many amusing and whimsical moments. Valerie S. Malmont also interweaves a social issue sub-plot into the main story line, which makes the tale even more realistic without taking away from the who-done-it. Ms Malmont is one author who never fails to deliver a fascinating story.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner