The sixth in the popular Mark Manning mystery series has Manning involved in solving the electrocution death of a popular matriarch of the community. Paramount in Mark's investigation is the fact that one of his oldest friends, Roxanne Exner, is considered the prime suspect. Exner, her new husband Carl Creighton (candidate for lt. governor), Manning's life partner Neil, and other friends, race against a political deadline to prove her innocence. A subplot has Mark and Neil bracing for the departure of their ward Thad as he embarks for college life in far-off California.
This report prepared by Reginald D. Garrard
St. Martins, June 2002, 23.95, 288 pp.
Betty Gifford Ashton lives in Dumont, Wisconsin and is one of the town's most beloved citizens's who regularly gives vast sums of money to any philanthropic endeavor. She is invited to and attends the wedding of Roxanne Exner and Carl Creighton, the candidate for Illinois Lieutenant Governor. Mark Manning, owner of the Dumont Daily Register along with his life partner Neil Waite, sponsor the event.
Both Neil and Mark are close friends of the bride and want her to have a wedding she'll remember for the rest of the life. The wedding planners succeed in their goal though not quite the way they expected. Betty is murdered at the reception and Roxanne comes under suspicion because she has the motive, means and opportunity to commit the crime. To make matters worse, the Democratic candidate for governor plans to drop Carl from the ticket if Roxanne isn't exonerated by the time the debates begin. Mark is determined that Carl and Roxanne will emerge from the experience unscathed so he goes into sleuth mode to find the killer.
Michael Craft's “Mark Manning mysteries” get better with each book written. The protagonist has a strong social conscience which serves to make him a great reporter, one the audience can believe in. The relationship with Manning and his partner is a beautiful thing to behold and is a beacon of light in a dark and murky sea of human corruption. HOT SPOT is a one sitting read, impossible to put down until the last page is turned.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner