Friday, November 25, 2011

Corpus Christmas: Review

In Corpus Christmas, Margaret Maron gives us a little murder for the holiday season. Dr. Roger Shambley, the most recent addition to the board of directors for the Erich Bruel house is found dead the morning after a Christmas-themed party at the small art museum. At first glance, it looks like the snoopy, insinuating scholar had a bit too much egg nog and missed his step on the steep stairs leading to his office in the attic. But the scene has not quite been perfectly set and it it becomes apparent to Lieutenant Sigrid Harald of the NYPD that a bit of musical murder scenes has been played out.

The list of suspects grows as Lt. Harald discovers that Shambley managed to insult and infuriating nearly everyone he come across...from implications that the director is incompetent to murmurings of forgery, he had cast a knowing glance at all and sundry. Some of his insinuations prove to be mere gossip, but did something hit home? Is that why someone hit the scholar upside his rather fragile skull. It's up to Lt. Harald and company to find out.

This is a nice cozy little mystery, set in a grand old relic of a house which has been turned into a shrine to the artistic taste (both good and bad) or Erich Bruel. There are plenty of red herrings and more suspects than you can shake a stick at. The characters are delightful--realistic and humorous and sympathetic in turns. I don't believe I've ever read a story by Maron before, but I can assure you, this won't be my last. Three stars for a nice solid mystery.

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