MIRANDA WARNING by Heather Day Gilbert

miranda-warningI can never decide whether I like titles that are puns, or whether they irritate me.   I am going with ‘like’ today, because it is Thursday, and I tend to like things on Thursdays.

Tess Spencer is a young wife, newly pregnant, with a nice young hubby who is a struggling lawyer.  They live in the cottage behind the big house of his family, a family whom Tess really loves and who love her just as much.  Ahhhh.  So nice to read of a congenial family instead of the all-too-often hateful, bitchy mother-in-law trope.

Tess’s mother is in prison for selling drugs.  Again.  The dad is dead.  So it is a good thing this family is so nice, cause it is all she has.

Her best friend is an octogenarian named Miranda who is now living in an assisted living place after suffering a stroke.  Although she misses her independence, she is a feisty thing (and now, I have to think about whether I want people referring to me when I reach my platinum years as ‘feisty’.  I can’t decide whether it sounds condescending or complimentary.  Oh well, I guess if I get to that age I should be grateful I am still alive and kicking for anyone to refer to me at all, other than ‘She looked so good in her coffin, didn’t she.  Her acne finally cleared up.’ )   OK, where was I?  Oh yeah,  the assisted living facility.  Miranda is planning on marrying a dude she knows from her young womanhood.  He was married to her friend,  and the friend committed suicide not too many years after they married.   Interestingly enough, she leaves her considerable estate not to the husband but to her friend Miranda.  Hmmmm.

Miranda receives a mysterious note warning her against marrying the dude.    And it is in the handwriting of her dead friend!  And then Tess receives a plant from an anonymous giver, which she learns has the symbolic meaning of a warning.

The first person narrative of Tess is periodically interrupted by diary entries of the dead woman, and between Tess’s investigation into who is sending these messages and plants, and the writings of the dead chick, we realize we have a mystery on our hands.  Did she really commit suicide?  Was she murdered?  Was she seeing another man?  And does the husband now want to marry ailing Miranda because of her money?    And how did young Tess and elderly Miranda come to be friends in the first place?

It was a great read, an excellent mystery, lots of likable characters.  If you are a mysteries fan, definitely put this one on your TBR list.

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