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Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage:three moon gifSt Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover), ISBN 0-312-26619-7
Torie O'Shea, very pregnant and very personable, finds herself called to a family gathering and the reading of Clarissa Hart's will. A very distant relative in West Virginia, Clarissa seems determined to make her new will known to all -- regardless of the fact that the ailing 101-year-old boarding house owner looks like she might keel over any day.

Book: Rett MacPherson, A Misty Mourning Torie reluctantly leaves her family and takes her mother, Gertie Crookshank, on the long drive. Torie believes the family included her in the summons only because of her continuing genealogy work on the O'Shea family tree.

Arriving at Clarissa's dilapidated place, Torie meets the rest of the Harts and the silent, enigmatic Norman Gross over a family dinner. You couldn't call it a fun family dinner -- at least Torie can't, since she gets a resentful glare from almost everyone present. You see everyone knows, apart from Torie, that Torie will inherit the bulk of Clarissa's estate, including the boarding house and grounds.

Torie's suspicions become roused when Clarissa asks her for a private conversation. Unfortunately, Clarissa dies before the conversation takes place. Even worse, when Torie investigates a noise and moving shadows in Clarissa's room, she finds no one but the dead Clarissa -- and the Harts discover Torie leaning over the corpse.

Book: Rett MacPherson, Comedy of HeirsTorie struggles to prove her innocence against a backdrop of suspicion, resentment, murder, mounting evidence and the haunting memories of an eighty year-old murder. Her only clue lies in an old quilt named Bridie's Secret and an old photograph on the dining room wall. Her enemies -- basically everyone around her -- include a brusque uncooperative sheriff, Colin Brooke, and an overactive journalist, Sherise Tyler.

MacPherson spins a tale which delights in its twists and turns, and yet stays logical. Torie doesn't storm into the murderer's home demanding a confession. She possesses much more sense of self-preservation than that.

Indeed, the ending flows so logicallly and believably that it adds immensely to one's enjoyment, making A Misty Mourning a wonderfully light and addictive read.

Stephen John Smith

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