THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY MURDER
Fawcett, Feb 2002, 6.99, 256 pp.
In her basement, Chris Bennett notices three boxes are wet because the window was left open. Inside the boxes are keepsakes that Chris's late aunt packed and she wants to go through them to see what to keep and what to throw out. She finds two notes from a Betty Linton and Laura Filmore thanking Chris's aunt for helping them through their respective tragedies.
Twelve years ago Laura's husband committed suicide after attending a birthday party in his honor. There was no evidence he was anything but happy and that his wife and friends thought very highly of him. Betty's retarded son wandered away from her and went into the woods where he died from exposure. Chris thinks others helped these people to their deaths especially in light of the fact that the victims were wearing each other's shoes. Laura and Betty's family never met and the deaths occurred in different states. Chris is determined to find out what really went on back then or know the reason why.
THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY MURDER, the fourteenth Chris Bennett mystery, retains the uniqueness and holiday excitement of the other thirteen books in the series. The tenacious Chris keeps moving from one clue to another, yet her integrity insures she does not come across as being nosy or a gossip. Rather the heroine appears to the audience as a champion of truth and justice tempered with mercy.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner