Warner, Jul 2003, 23.95, 336 pp.
Manchester-by-the-Sea on Massachusetts' North Shore's overly indulged Hope Lawrence is having second and third thoughts about her pending marriage to Jack Cabot III, heir to a fortune. Her prime problem is that she does not love the catch of the decade, but instead loves Carl LeFleur. However, her snobbish family expects her to wed the aristocratic the Third and not some lobsterman.
If that was Hope's only problem perhaps she could cope. Besides an eating disorder, her family betrays her from a sister who covets her man to a father who verbally abuses her to live up to expectations to her mother who sells her out. When Hope hangs herself, everyone assumes suicide. Everyone that is except her visiting cousin, former assistant district attorney Frances Pratt, who believes murder has occurred and plans to find out who would kill her hopeless relative.
Though at times the novel feels more like a four tissue box soap opera starring the rich and not so famous, fans of New England cozies will appreciate the tale. For the most part, readers will feel for Hope, though some in the audience will want to yell at her to get a life as her tribulations at times seem minor. Francis, still recovering from the MISFORTUNE of her own mother's death, is the strength of the tale as if all the assertion genetic material went to her. Nancy Geary provides a fine cozy that those readers who enjoy murder among the affluent will want to peruse.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner