Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hanged for a Sheep

Hanged for a Sheep by Frances & Richard Lockridge is one of the many adventures of Pam & Jerry North and their friend, Lieutenant Bill Weigand. The Lockridge books are my mystery comfort-reading--light, fun, madcap. Just what's needed on a dreary fall day when one just wants to curl up and not have to think too hard.

This outing finds Jerry away on business and Pam visiting her Aunt Flora. Just a nice family visit. Well, not really. Aunt Flora tells Pam that someone has tried to poison her....with arsenic. She wants Pam, as the "family private eye," to investigate, but not to tell the police. Aunt Flora has been married four times and had children by several of the husbands...and Aunt Flora has pots of money. So, there are plenty of suspects to go around. Then Aunt Flora's latest husband winds up dead from a pistol shot. What exactly is going on at this little family visit? As Lieutenant Weigand puts it (once he's called in): "So there we are. Nowhere much as yet. One poisoned, one dead, one missing; suspects to the right of us, suspects to the left of us. Everybody with opportunity; almost everybody with motive. A pistol missing; a bottle missing; a hunch missing. So Mullins and I go back to work."

I enjoyed this thoroughly as I always do enjoy the Lockridge stories. Pam is...well...Pam--with her brain running about three steps ahead and making leaps in the conversation that set heads spinning. But whether you understand her logic or not, she's generally right and often provides Bill Weigand with just the clue he needs to sew up another "screwy" murder. As his Sergeant Mullins says, "They're always screwy when you've got the Norths." He's right, but screwy in all the right ways. Four stars out five.

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