NEFARIOUS DOINGS by Ilsa Evans

nefarious-doingsThere is something about the word ‘nefarious’ that just reaches out to you, tugs on your sleeve and whispers ‘read me’.

Nell Forrest is a mid-life lady with five daughters whose husband left her about seven months ago for something more glamorous.  Five daughters.  Wow.  Anyway, Nell also has what I have come to think of as a ‘cozy mystery mother’ — bossy, interfering, basically insufferable but whom the protagonist suffers anyway.  Why is that?   Why are so many mothers portrayed as bossy and insufferable?  I am certainly not that way.  I swear, I’m NOT!

Nell’s mother runs a bookstore in town, and one night her house is torched and upon putting out the fire, the fire department discovers a dead body in the garage.  Turns out it is the body of the insufferable next door neighbor, who has been accused of abusing his wife and kids, and fighting with Nell’s mom.

Some unauthorized sleuthing on the part of Nell, a newspaper blogger,  puts her in danger, and she receives a threatening phone call.  The plot thickens.  She runs into a neighbor of her mother’s,  who gets a started expression on her face and turns abruptly and walks away.  Nell goes to visit her, and no one answers the door. So, as you do, she pushes on the door, finds it unlocked and walks in, you know, as anyone would.  [eye roll].  She discovers the woman strangled to death, with a local historical society pin caught in her hair.  It is like one Nell’s mother owns, so natch, she takes it out of the woman’s hair, you know, as you do, and pockets it.  [nother eye roll].

Then the assistant to the owner of the local antique store goes missing, and a frantic search is on.  And like in most of these kinds of mysteries, our protagonist is grabbed and left to die by the killer.  Saved at the last moment by the handsome homicide detective.  These kinds of mysteries always have a single woman protagonist and a handsome single homicide detective.   Okay, Okay.  So they’re formulaic.  I liked it anyway.  That’s why they are cozy mysteries — it is comforting to know what is coming next and that there will be a happy ending.  I like happy endings, even if they are part of the formula.   I mean, who wants to read “So she died of the wounds inflicted by the killer and he/she got away to kill again.”

Nice writing, and there is now another in the series.  Happy reading.

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