St. Martin's, Oct 2001, 23.95, 288 pp.
In 1889 at Fourways house in the English village of Bamford, Cora Oakley informs her spouse William she wants a separation. Ailing from an extracted tooth, Cora uses medicine to ease her pain. The next day she is found dead apparently poisoned. The police arrest William who stands trial for her murder.
In 1999 William's descendants, two elderly sisters Damaris and Florence, are trying to sell their ancestral home Fourways. However, a Polish veterinary surgeon claiming to be William's great-grandson arrives. Jan demands half the profit from the sale of the house. Not long afterward, he is found dead from the same poison used to kill Cora. Superintendent Alan Markby and his significant other Meredith Mitchell lead the investigation into whether two senior citizens pulled an arsenic and old lace operation that requires looking into the century plus old mystery as well.
SHADES OF MURDER, the thirteenth Cotwolds village mystery, is a wonderful double murder story as Ann Granger effortlessly moves back and forth between the two centuries. The story line is cleverly designed, but the tale, as is the case in most of these novels, belongs to the lead couple, having moved forward in their relationship and by doing so freshening up the plot.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner