Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Audio CD; Digital Book
ISBN #: 9781635112146; 9781635112115; 9781515963691
Henery Press Publishing
$26.35; $15.95; $24.99; $6.99 Amazon
May 23, 2017
Ellison Russell wanted a decorator, not a corpse. Too bad she finds Mrs. White in the Study killed with a revolver. Things go from bad to worse when she finds Mr. White in the dining room killed with a candlestick. With so many bodies, is it any wonder Detective Anarchy Jones' new partner considers Ellison a suspect? With the country club gossips talking a mile a minute, an unexpected cocktail party, a visit from Aunt Sis, and a romantic decision, Ellison hardly has time to think about murder. Unfortunately, the killer has plenty of time to think about her.
Ellison Russell lives in a wealthy Kansas City suburb with her daughter Grace. She's been widowed for six months, and has decided to turn her late husband's office into a study, so is looking for a decorator. At the request of her attorney Hunter Tafft she's allowing his ex-wife Khaki White to offer a bid, even though she knows she won't hire her. After all, she is dating Hunter, and feels it would be awkward to have his ex- (remarried) wife in her home. When Khaki shows up, she begins making asides regarding Hunter that put Ellison on edge. So when Ellison receives a telephone call from her housekeeper Aggie, it's a welcome respite.
It turns out Aggie's car Bess has finally died, and she needs Ellison to pick her up. Ellison leaves Khaki to measure the room and tells her she'll be back shortly, and to just lock up behind her when she leaves. That should be the end of her seeing Khaki...but instead it's just the end of Khaki. When Ellison and Aggie return home, she finds her front door ajar, and Khaki in the study, shot between the eyes. In shock, she calls Detective Anarchy Jones for help.
When Anarchy arrives, it's with his new partner Detective Peters, and he thinks everyone - including Ellison - is a suspect. She has no idea who killed Khaki but she knows it wasn't herself or Hunter, (even if her neighbor did see a white Mercedes like Hunter's in her driveway). As it is, she and Grace need to evacuate their home while the police check the crime scene, and if this isn't bad enough, her mother Frances - who is having a disaster in her own home - has volunteered Ellison's home as a replacement for a benefactors' party - in two days' time.
With her hands full of disasters and trying to keep everything together, she allows her mother her way and it appears the party is going just fine. If things were bad before, they're about to get worse. Ellison, making her way around her home greeting her guests, notices the lights are off in the dining room and turns them on only to see another dead body - this time it's Khaki's husband, and someone has done him in with one of her grandmother's candelabra.
But as she's caught up in two murders, you'd think it would be enough, but that's not all. She has friends who are hiding secrets, and not little ones, either. Secrets that could not only get them killed, but Ellison as well...
Julie Mulhern has done it again and given us a captivating mystery to sink our teeth into and happily devour. Her characters are so full of life, so animated, that we are drawn to them instantly. Even those we would rather not spend any time with, such as Frances (don't judge - Ellison doesn't want to spend time with her, either) have distinct and vibrant personalities.
We are transported back in time to the 1970s - Bell bottom pants, colorful (very) clothing, no cell phones or Internet, and ex-baseball player Joe DiMaggio was hawking Mr. Coffee on televisions all across America. It is a world Ms. Mulhern feels comfortable in, and by extension, makes us comfortable in it, too.
What she has given us is a mystery not only with two murders; there is also something darker going on, and we find ourselves involved in situations that have no easy exit; mistakes that are made that can change the life of anyone forever. When Ellison starts questioning her friends - those that used Khaki as a decorator - she becomes embroiled in a type of conspiracy, and one that has roots closer to her own home than she could ever have imagined.
With her life in such turmoil, she makes another decision that could change her life, and time will tell whether it was the right decision or not. I have to wonder if it was based on being new, different, a rebellion of sorts; watching how differences collide will be interesting, to say the least.
When the ending comes, and we find out the murderer, it comes as a surprise - not the reasons why, but who the killer turned out to be. It's a twisted sort of person who can justify things in their own mind that aren't justifiable at all. Watching the Detectives was thoroughly entertaining, delightful to the extreme, and alternately funny and piquant; and even sometimes a little sorrowful. Highly recommended, and I eagerly await the next in the series.
More on Julie Mulhern's Books: https://www.fantasticfiction.com/m/julie-mulhern/