Berkley, July 2002, 6.50, 288 pp.
John Groover was a lookout for the armed robbery of the armored truck that was delivering payroll for the steel mill in Robinsville, Pa. Three other participants were given hard time but Johnny was given a chance: jail or the military. He chose the Marine Corps where he was in on the mission to take Gauadalcanal. He acquitted himself admirably, winning three purple hearts and getting wounded in action.
The military plans to use the new hero as a spokesperson for selling war bonds. He returns to Robinsville as a hero and the town rolls out the red carpet for him. Not all the people are glad he's back and one goes so far as to kill him, leaving the body on the football field. It takes amateur sleuth Kate Fallon five minutes to discover who did it and then the cover-up begins.
DECORATED FOR MURDER is a little different from other books in the series. Kate Fallon does not have a starring role and the protagonist is a likable hero who represents Joe Q. Public. Author M.T. Jefferson finds a clever way of inserting himself into the story line, a gimmick that works. Perhaps the real star of the book is the townsfolk of Robinsville who are diverse group of people yet are united in the war effort.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner