Dunne, Oct 2004, 23.95, 304 pp.
On the surface film critic Mitch Berger and state trooper Desiree Mitry have nothing in common. She is a black Christian and he is white. She is athletically fit while he is a fat. She keeps her feelings inside while he is an extrovert wearing them on his sleeves. In spite of all that and more they share a terrific personal relationship. They even have successfully solved a couple of homicide cases together although murder is the last thing on their minds when they attend a society gala at Astrid's castle in Dorset, Connecticut.
The party honors film director Ada Geiger, who broke the gender wall in the 1950s, but had to leave Hollywood due to the McCarthy persecutions. Her daughter Norma and her son-in-law Les own and run Astrid's castle, a hotel that is barely breaking even. The next morning, Norma is found dead in her bed from an apparent heart attack. Not long after that Ada is found also deceased, strangled by a telephone cord. Des believes that Norma was a homicide victim too and with Mitch covering her back and ignoring jurisdiction she investigates who killed the mother and daughter.
Mitch and Des are definitely the odd couple, which adds to the charm of this delightful police procedural Connecticut Yankee cozy. In some ways this tale is a twenty-first century version of Christie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. This is a locked room mystery which makes the case more difficult for the lead duo, but more fun for the fan.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner