Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Labor Day Murder: Review

Christine Bennett, her husband Jack, and their small son Eddie head to Blue Harbor on Fire Island, New York, for a two-week vacation including the Labor Day holiday. They've been promised plenty of fun, sun, beach time and relaxation. No one mentioned house fires and murders.

Long-time residents are stunned when the house of Blue Harbor's fire chief, Ken Buckley, goes up in flames. They're even more stunned when Buckley is found dead in the house. But he's not a victim of fire or smoke inhalation...he was shot before the fire was started. Though everyone claims what a great guy the chief was, there are plenty of motives lurking on the island--from the rumored affairs with island ladies, a vacationing lawyer, and even a girl half his age to his involvement in the ruining of a former resident's daughter to whispers of secrets from years past.

Chris sees the young girl running from the burning house and wonders what her involvement is...especially when Tina Frisch denies having been there. This time Chris gets involved to prove her own credibility--since the local police seem unwilling to believe her word instead of Tina. She starts asking questions soon finds clues that lead to another fire 15 years ago. Another murder and the disappearing lawyer add to the mystery. But Chris's nose for the truth leads her finally to the killer.

Generally speaking, these mysteries featuring Chris Bennett are fun and light. No matter how difficult the subject matter, Lee Harris rarely gets gritty when writing about it. This one does push the envelope on cozy in the final scene--making it the most grisly wrap-up in the series so far. Other than that, we definitely stay within the cozy realm and the book can easily be finished in an evening. While it may be said that Chris seems to have a lot of "luck" in her investigations, they are always interesting and her character is very likable and believable. It helps that she really likes what she does and is very compassionate in her dealings with victims and perpetrators alike. I highly recommend this series when you want something satisfying but not too heavy. ★★

Thanks to the lovely Freda at Freda's Voice for this one. It was my prize for last year's 100+ Reading Challenge over at her place.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Sounds like a good one. I like that it has a grisly ending.. that's more my speed. Great review!
PS - So glad this was a good investment. :-)