Monday, May 25, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Mission: Murder by Betty Kerr Orlemann

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Mission: Murder by Betty Kerr Orlemann. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Mission: Murder by Betty Kerr Orlemann

by
A Hattie Farwell Mystery

ShadowDance Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9771329-1-9 (0977132919)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9771329-1-1 (9780977132911)
Publication Date: August 2008
List Price: $12.95

Review: Betty Kerr Orlemann introduces retired school teacher Hattie Farwell, living on her family farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and investigating the suspicious death of a dear, old friend in Mission: Murder, the first in a proposed series to feature the octogenarian amateur sleuth.

Hattie had known Annie Turner most of her life. Annie's daughters, Anna and Brooke, referred to her as Aunt Hattie, one of the family. Just before Thanksgiving, Annie is struck down and killed by a hit-and-run driver. The police treat her death as an unfortunate accident, but Hattie isn't so sure. Then Anna, on her way to Hattie's house, is chased by a car and forced off the road, badly injuring her. This was no accident; someone deliberately tried to kill Anna. Though there is nothing to link the incidents, Hattie is sure there must be a common thread between the death of Anna's mother and the attempt on her life.

Hattie Farwell is a delightful woman and Mission: Murder is a pleasure to read. Hattie's backstory adds depth and interest to her character and provides an understanding as to her motivation in pursuing this case. For example, Hattie prefers to wear what she finds comfortable, and what Hattie finds comfortable are “long skirts – usually black – immaculate white blouses and black lace-up boots.” If she were pressed to explain her choice, she would say it was her way of paying homage to a strong woman whom she loved, admired and respected, her grandmother. The underlying message here: family and respect, and respect of family, are everything.

The plot of Mission: Murder is well thought out and there are many twists and turns that keep the briskly paced story fresh and exciting. In short, this debut is a fine cozy and readers will be eagerly looking forward to Hattie's next outing.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Mission: Murder and to Word Forge Books for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): The suspicious death of her lifelong best friend jolts octogenarian Hattie Farwell out of a comfortable retirement in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania. When Annie Turner is killed leaving a Philadelphia concert, a grieving Hattie is suddenly flung into the world of high-stakes political intrigue, drifting amid a web of deceit and the uncomfortable dynamics of the family her friend left behind.

Police efforts turn up more questions than answers, and Hattie’s patience wears thin. Finally, aided by Annie’s granddaughters and her huge dog, Wolf, Hattie sets out to pursue her own theories about what really happened to Annie.

Between Wolf’s nose for trouble and Hattie’s determination to solve the murder, she finds herself navigating an unsavory—and increasingly dangerous—path to the truth. America’s latest unlikely sleuth uncovers the ugly underside of political campaigns, marital infidelity, and more than one old family secret that someone will stop at nothing to keep hidden.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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