Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mystery Book Review: A Slaying in Savannah by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of A Slaying in Savannah by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

A Slaying in Savannah by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

A Slaying in Savannah by Jessica Fletcher and
A Murder, She Wrote Mystery

NAL Books (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-451-22505-8 (0451225058)
ISBN-13: 978-0-451-22505-4 (9780451225054)
Publication Date: September 2008
List Price: $21.95

Review: Jessica Fletcher must solve a 40-year-old cold case in less than 30 days in A Slaying in Savannah, the 30th book in this series by the renowned mystery writer (and co-written with Donald Bain).

Jessica is saddened to learn of the death of her dear friend and co-founder of the National Coalition for Literacy, Tillie Mortelaine. Tillie’s lawyer, Roland Richard, after informing Jessica of Tillie’s death, tells her that because she wanted the program they had created to go on long after her death, she had left the sum of $1 million to Jessica but with one stipulation: Jessica will receive the money to be donated to the literacy foundation if she is able to solve a cold case, the murder of Tillie’s fiancé, Wanamaker Jones, forty years ago. Lillie has given her thirty days to crack a case the police couldn’t. No weapon was ever found and there were no clues. Memories have undoubtedly faded over the years. If the killer is not already dead, he (or she) remains at large. Jessica goes to Savannah to face the people that were there at that fateful New Year’s Eve party when Wanamaker was shot to death. They couldn’t or wouldn’t help the police then. Why should they help Jessica now?

Like many old homes in Savannah, Tillie's house is believed to be haunted. It has even been said that the ghost (or spirit) of Tillie’s great-great-grandfather has been seen and heard roaming the halls as has Tillie’s murdered fiancé. As Jessica gets settled in, she comes face to face with others who have been named in Tillie’s will and soon realizes she is not a welcome guest in the old house. Mentioned in Tillie’s will are her greedy niece and nephew who feel sure she would have left the house to them; after all they were her only family. Others on the list are Mrs. Goodall, the housekeeper; her tenants who live in the guest house; retired General Pettigrew who claims he had asked Tillie to marry him and she had agreed; the Grogans, Arthur and Samantha, studying the field of paranormal phenomena and trying to bring back the ghost of Wanamaker; Dr. Warner Payne, her doctor; and Charmelle, Tillie’s oldest friend, and her brother Frank O’Neill. Jessica wonders just why she was asked to try to solve this crime when Tillie wouldn’t be there to see the outcome. Was she trying to penalize those she thought had done harm to her? And why would she jeopardize the literacy program? The answers to these questions must come in thirty days or sooner if Jessica could solve the decades old murder.

Jessica Fletcher is a friend of every family who's ever seen the television show and it's easy to welcome her back in these entertaining mysteries. One can almost hear the theme music playing while turning the title page. The characters are familiar in a neighborly way (both good and bad) and the story in A Slaying in Savannah fits perfectly into the body of work already produced. A pleasure to read, this is an ideal book for that cold winter afternoon with the fireplace aglow.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Slaying in Savannah and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Jessica Fletcher is saddened when her eccentric old friend Tillie Mortelaine passes away—and surprised to learn that Tillie has left her a million dollars. But there are strings attached. Jessica must use the money to help the literacy fund she and Tillie established years ago in Savannah, . And she will receive the money only if she can solve a mystery within the month: the murder of Tillie’s fiancé, Wanamaker Jones.

As Jessica settles into Tillie's Savannah mansion and meets its collection of odd boarders, she discovers that the spirit of the murder victim haunts the grounds. And that there are those in Savannah who are looking to cash in on Jessica’s failure.

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