Mira, Jul 2002, 6.50, 384 pp.
When she first accepted Jack Clancy's job offer to manage an Ozarks retirement community, Harriet Garvey thought her biggest problem would be boredom. However, Valhalla Springs proves wilder than her former home Chicago. In a very short time Harriet has been on several murder investigations and a few other felonies. However, her toughest problem is her deep feelings for local Sheriff David Henderson even though the Gods must frown upon this couple mating as coitus interruptus is the norm of their relationship.
Though she loathes Eulliy Thomlinson, Jack convinces her to represent him at a going away party for the woman and her spouse Chet. Everything seems okay until D.K. Bogart starts shooting at people; Chet retaliates and kills him. Most of Kinderhook County think Chet is a hero, but Dave and Harriet wonder about the incident. Accompanied by her geriatric detectives, Harriet begins to make inquiries while Dave tries to entice her to marry him. He also attempts to coax his love and her band of amateurs to not investigate.
WEST OF BLISS is an engaging amateur sleuth tale starring a frustrated hero, a clever heroine, and an insane peculiar crowd of seniors who often steal the plot. The story line is well written, but though the mystery is delightfully disguised, the banter between Harriet and Dave feels stale perhaps because this is the fourth novel in two years without enough movement in their relationship. Still Suzann Ledbetter provides an amusing amateur sleuth police procedural combo that now needs to move to the center of the compass and fully explore the magnetism between the lead duo.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner