by Jessie McAlan
GENRE: Amateur sleuth
Finding a large hole on one’s property is one thing; finding a body in it the following day is quite another.
Rona and her ex-husband, Johnny, also discover a sheet of paper at the gravesite, symbols looking like code or treasure hunting glyphs. What’s it mean? Does it have any bearing on the man’s death?
Add to this mix the old Finley-Tennet feud and an elderly Finley’s nebulous recollection of James/Younger outlaw days. Does she have the clue to the cache’s location?
When a second death pushes Rona and Johnny into a deadly game of hide-and-seek with the killer, she learns—nearly too late--just how deeply Johnny still loves her.
She’d set her laptop on the coffee table and was getting out dessert plates and mugs when the bell to the side door rang. She cracked open the window, saw it was Johnny, then ushered him inside.
“First time in quite a while I’ve been given the eye.” He gave her a light kiss on the cheek. “Wouldn’t a peep hole in the door work better?”
“I just wanted to be certain it was you. Can you install a peep hole?”
“Nothing to it, especially for a man who’s put in those picture windows in his shop.” He flung his cap onto the kitchen table and shrugged out of his jacket. “Why the precautions all of a sudden?”
“It’s a long story.”
“I’m not busy the rest of my life. Except for October 28th. I’ll be occupied with the gallery’s opening that day. But the other ten thousand nine hundred fifty days are yours.”
“How long is that?
“Thirty years, give or take a leap day or two. I want to make sure I’m not skimping on our time together.”
“You plan on living to one hundred seven?”
“I don’t see why not. I have to make up for our year of separation and divorce.” He dished two servings of the pudding cake into the bowls, set them and the mugs on the tray, and took them into the den. “So, what’s this long story that requires precautions? I love stories. I was brought up on stories.”
“This isn’t Little Red Riding Hood. Sorry to disappoint you.”
“So it’s something else with a big bad wolf.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A family trip to the Big Spring area in the Missouri Ozarks introduced Jessie to the wonders of nature. Her summer stints as a camp counselor and canoeing instructor cemented her enthusiasm. This love of the natural world and the river flows through her Linn House mysteries.
In 2001 Jessie graduated from Webster University with a BA degree and departmental honors in English.
She lives in the St Louis, MO area, and spends as much time as she can writing mysteries and watching the barges on the river.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The tour dates can be found here
My apologies for the delay!
3.5 out of 5 stars
A Hasty Grave by Jessie McAlan follows Rona Murray as she is recovering from the recent traumatic events and ready to go back to business as usual, but her plans are disrupted by the disturbances on her property. Unfortunately, the dead body discovered in a shallow grave leads her on a circuitous journey that involves unexpected connections and persistence to uncover. The invaluable assistance of her ex-husband, Johnny, and her faithful German Shepherd, Drew, may not be enough to keep her safe as Rona follows a trail that leads into history…that someone may not want uncovered and is willing to do harm to prevent it.
This cozy mystery story is the second book in the ‘Linn House Mysteries’ series but it can be read as a stand-alone story without too much difficulty. I gather there was a previous issue on the property which is still reverberating, but the events detailed in this book don’t require having read the first story. The author has a gentle style and I was reminded of some of the British mysteries that I have read as events play out between a couple of small towns and various somewhat eccentric characters are introduced. The relationship between Rona and Johnny is a little odd, as it seems that the embers of attraction are still very much alive but neither is ready to deepen the connection again for some nebulous reason. For me, it was a little irksome, as he obviously cares for her, and vice versa, but they are tiptoeing around her insistence on independence even as she requests his presence.
The mystery has nice elements of history along with some intriguing facts about geocaching but I thought that some events were a little forced and some of the dangling threads are not cleared up as much as I would like. I think Rona and Johnny are personable and make a good team and that someone who enjoys light cozy mysteries will have fun with this story.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review