Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Shedding Light on Murder

Author:  Patricia Driscoll
Genre: Murder

3 Stars
Grace Tolliver is a young widow and an ex-probation officer who buys an antique lamp shop in Cape Cod.  She has an employee, Duane, who was once arrested for theft and drug use, but is now in rehab.  Grace, feeling everyone deserves a second chance, hires him.

She sends him to pick up a lamp for repair, and he comes back telling her the client is dead. Because he was the one who discovered the body, and has a record for theft and drugs, the police figure he did it and arrest and charge him for the crime. Grace, of course, doesn't believe he's guilty and sets about finding the real killer.
I read this book based on other reviews, and I really wanted to like it.  The author had a great storyline, and the mystery itself is pretty good. But there are too many areas that don't make any sense, although I'm not going to list them here (I try not to do spoilers unless it's absolutely necessary).
After Duane is arrested for the murder, nearly everyone in town blames her because she hired him.  They all figure if he didn't work for her, Danielle (the deceased) would never have been killed.  Even her father thinks Duane is guilty.  I guess in this town if you've ever been in jail for anything you'd better watch your back, because that's how the townspeople reacted to Duane.  No one believes in 'innocent until proven guilty' (aside from Grace and a few newcomers).  But Grace doesn't believe it, and since the police won't listen to her, she figures she'll conduct her own investigation into the murder, with help along the way from her other employees, Michael and Bella.

Most of the characters are good, but I never really knew what Grace was supposed to look like.  There is a great job describing the secondary characters, but the only thing I ever found out about Grace was when Bella told her she was "a beautiful 39-year-old woman".  Granted, it may have been fleeting, so I may have missed it, but I don't remember any descriptions of even so much as her hair color.  I like to picture in my mind the characters' faces, bodies, etc., but at least you need something to go on.  Being beautiful doesn't leave a whole lot.
I also personally felt that the novel leaves you hanging.  I didn't think there was a satisfying ending to it.  There were several unanswered questions, and I would have at least liked some satisfaction, which wasn't forthcoming.  For this reason, I give it three stars for the mystery only, since it was pretty good.  It was the details that were missing.


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