Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Maggie Dove: A Mystery

Author:  Susan Breen
Genre:  Mystery

Ebook
Alibi Publishing
225 Pages
$2.99 Amazon
June 4, 2016
Four Stars

When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree - the one he demanded she cut down - she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart.  But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son.  Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie's Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter's fiance, and he's been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter's death.

Maggie can't lose Peter, too.  So she sets out to find the real murderer.  To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years.  She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River.  And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves - even if it kills her.

********

Maggie Dove is a middle-aged woman who lives in the small village of Darby, and has done so her entire life.  Both her husband and daughter are deceased, she teaches Sunday School, is a mystery writer with writer's block since her daughter's death, and her most important link to Juliet, her daughter, is Peter Nelson, her late daughter's boyfriend.

She also has a neighbor. Marcus Bender, whom everyone (including his wife) refers to by his last name.  And he hates Maggie, and she hates him.  Mainly because he's a fairly newcomer to town, and he wants her to cut down her oak tree, which has been there since she was a small child, and holds fond memories for her.  Maggie refuses, and soon discovers that Bender attempted to poison her tree to get rid of it.  One evening, she confronts him about it and tells her to stay away from her tree - and the same evening she finds Bender dead - in front of her oak.

At first everyone thinks Bender merely died of a heart attack, but it is later discovered that he was poisoned by an overdose of Ecstasy.  Walter Campbell, the police chief, thinks the killer is Peter, since he had a past history of misuse before Peter himself became a police officer.  But Maggie knows in her heart that there's no way Peter could have committed murder, and decides to try and find the real killer.

When there is another murder by the same means, and Peter was known to have a recent argument with this victim, it only makes it look worse.  Maggie is more determined than ever to find out the truth, even if it means putting herself in danger...

This is a book that is more than a mystery:  It's not a light read; in fact, it's rather dark.  It's about a woman who has lost both her husband and her daughter, and after twenty years is slowly finding a way to let go of her grief, and Peter, who is hanging onto guilt and it's tainted his life evermore because of that.  It's about their relationship to each other - Peter was with Juliet on the night she died - and how it's left them co-dependent upon each other and not able to move on.

When Maggie finally figures out the killer and why, it is almost too late, but it all makes sense.  We are left with the hint that there will be others in this series, and Maggie will have found a new purpose to her life, and sometimes you discover that people you thought you knew can still surprise you.  Recommended.


Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1669666241                                             

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