Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Death Takes Priority (A Postmistress Mystery)

Author:  Jean Flowers
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9780425279106
Berkley Publishing
304 Pages
$7.99; $2.99 Amazon
November 3, 2015


After caring for her dying aunt and being dumped by her fiancé, Cassie Miller decides to return to her small hometown in the Berkshires to lick her wounds and live in the house where she was raised.  Leaving behind her managerial position in the Boston main post office, Cassie trades in her tailored suits and high heels for the comfortable blue shirt and red-white-and-blue striped scarf of the postmaster for North Ashcot, Massachusetts.

Everything is business as usual until Cassie arrives at work one day to find that someone has broken into the post office building.  the only items stolen: stacks of telephone books.  Who steals phone books?  And when the body of an unidentified man is found in the woods and the handsome antiques dealer she just had lunch with is taken into custody, Cassie is suddenly drawn into the case.  With a crime enveloped in mystery, she needs to track the killer - before another victim's fate is sealed in the dead letter office...


Cassie Miller used to work for the postal service in Boston, but when her aunt got sick and her boyfriend dumped her, she ran home to North Ashcot, Massachusetts.  She took over the office of Postmaster and has been home for three months, trying to find her way again with people she's known and some she hasn't.

When she accepts a lunch date from a local antiques dealer, Scott James, she doesn't know that it's going to end abruptly, with Scott taken in for questioning - it seems someone from Cassie's past has been found murdered, and he had two names in his possession - Scott's and Quinn Martindale's.  It also comes as a surprise that Scott and Quinn turn out to be the same person.

When she discovers the identity of the dead man - someone she went to prom with - his sister Wanda asks her to investigate, because Wanda thinks the police are blowing her off about possible reasons why her brother was murdered.  While Cassie tries to stay out of the investigation, it appears people think she already is in.  She's questioned by people who visit the post office, and and once she discovers her tires have been slashed - all four of them - it's apparent someone who knows what's going on thinks so, too...

I liked this book up to a point.  I liked the fact that our protagonist is a postmaster, but I really didn't care to hear about all her duties; it was beginning to get old.  We all know that postal employees have to sort mail, deliver it, fill the various bins, etc.  I'm pretty sure no one believes it's done by elves in the middle of the night.  Anyhow...I found it distracting as much as I would have if I'd been reading about a florist who continually told us how she orders flowers, cuts them, arranges them, etc. 

The plot itself was decent enough, but never really seemed to come together for me.  There just didn't seem to be any real reason why the person who was actually "organizing everything" would think Cassie could be a serious threat.  She knew very little, and honestly didn't know how to ask questions without people catching on.  It just seemed off to me.

While I understand this is the first in a new series, I also understand that it takes time to hone the same, so I hope that the next book brings a little more polish, and I plan to give this author another chance to do so.


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