Thursday, February 9, 2017

River City Dead (An Aggie Mundeen Mystery #4)

Author:  Nancy G. West
Genre:  Mystery, Suspense

Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook
ISBN #:  9781635111361, 9781635111330
Henery Press
224 Pages
January 17, 2017


Advice columnist Aggie Mundeen and SAPD Detective Sam Vanderhoven plan their first rendezvous at a San Antonio River Walk hotel during Fiesta Week - sumptuous sights, sounds, and festivities in the middle of America's Venice.  A vacation from crime and a reset for their tumultuous relationship.

But murder descends on the Casa Prima Hotel.  Disturbing revelations surface about the Fabulous Femmes, Aggie's new friends holding a convention.  Evil emerges at parties in La Villita.  Calamity plagues Aggie's debut dance performance at Arneson River Theater, the celebration is skewed by carousing, crazies and corpses.  Even in idyllic River City, crime complicates relationships.


Aggie Mundeen is planning her first rendezvous with the love of her life, SAPD Detective Sam Vanderhoven.  He's gotten them a suite at a San Antonio River Walk hotel during Fiesta Week when everything will be festive, noisy and fun.  The only problem is there's a dead body in the suite they were supposed to have, and there's not another one available in the entire city.  So Aggie and Sam, who's involved in the case now, have to make do in separate cubbyholes until the case is solved.

While Sam wants Aggie to go home, there's a problem: Aggie knew the dead woman, Monica - she was the ex-daughter-in-law of her friend and neighbor Grace, and she'd recently had lunch with her.  In Aggie's mind, that makes her just as involved as Sam even if he doesn't think so.  So when Aggie meets and befriends members of a dance troupe who are performing during the fiesta, she finds out they all knew the dead girl too, and she refuses to leave but tells him she'll stay out of his way and share any information she discovers with him.

While Aggie is able to do so to some extent, she still manages to investigate on her own without telling Sam, and while Aggie's doing her best to trust Sam it seems she doesn't trust him enough to share everything, which could be the real stumbling block in their relationship.  If Aggie doesn't figure her things out soon, her budding romance with Sam might also be dead...

I loved this latest installment in the Aggie Mundeen Mysteries.  In this book, the fourth in the series, she's less age-obsessed and more concerned with making things work between her and Sam.  Unfortunately for her, it's a bit difficult when what started as a lovely weekend ends abruptly when one finds a dead body in their suite.

Aggie is very good at asking questions without people becoming suspicious of her motives, and when she thinks someone just might be, she's smart enough to change the subject.  She's also able to think quickly and come up with plans on the spur of the moment - as Aggie herself says, she's spontaneous; and that makes her likable and rather endearing to both Sam and readers.

We are seeing Aggie slowly learning that in order to be trusted, you must first trust in return, and Sam, poor saintly man, deals with it admirably (although I think a lot of this comes from the fact that he's a homicide detective and he wouldn't be a very good one if he didn't have patience).

When we finally find out the identity of the murderer it comes as a surprise, which it should be, and makes it an even more entertaining read than we would have thought.  This latest installment is the best yet in my opinion, Aggie and Sam are perfect foils for each other (even if they don't quite yet realize it) and I look forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended.


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