MRS. MALORY AND THE DELAY OF EXECUTION
Signet, Jun 2002, 5.99, 256 pp.
When seventh level schoolteacher Margaret Hood died from diabetic coma, the English chair at Blakeney, Laura Wilson, asks former Oxford pal Sheila Malory to teach the class. Reluctantly the renowned literary critic and writer Sheila agrees to teach the five brilliant female eighteen-year-olds as they prepare for their exams.
The students are easy to work with as they turn out even more intelligent and motivated than advertised. However, Sheila begins to see a dark picture of Margaret emerge from a variety of sources. Learning further that Margaret perished by not taking her insulin, Sheila notices discrepancies in the account making her wonder if the perfect decorum of her pupils hide something more sinister.
Fans of cozies will enjoy the insightful look at life at the sheltered Birmingham school, sort of a modern day urbanized Miss Read tale. The story line is rich in detail and the key cast members including Margaret are fully developed so that the audience understands their motives. However, the mystery is slow in coming though once Sheila begins having doubts about her predecessor's death, her investigation takes off. Fans of an insular cozy in which the who-done-it begins in the latter half of the novel will relish Hazel Holt's MRS. MALORY AND THE DELAY OF EXECUTION.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner