Murder, By George by Jeanne Quigley is the second book in the “Veronica Walsh” mystery series. Publisher: Five Star, May 2016
Retired soap opera actress Veronica Walsh leads a fulfilling second act in her Adirondack hometown of Barton. Her boutique, All Things, is thriving and she enjoys a romance with Professor Mark Burke. She has neither the time nor the desire to be an amateur sleuth.
Trouble finds her when architect Scott Culverson buys a vintage box at the village’s annual flea market and discovers a valuable painting and love letter inside a locked drawer. The awe over the masterpiece, a 1920’s portrait of Barton’s main street, turns to rage when a fierce argument ensues. The box’s seller insists the painting was not included in the sale, while Ella and Madeline Griffin, whose mother received the painting as a wedding present, demand that Scott return the painting to their family. The artist’s daughter, the formidable Leona Bradshaw Kendall, later joins the battle over Orchard Street.
When Scott is stabbed to death and the painting and letter stolen, the Griffin sisters ask Veronica to help clear suspicion from their hot-tempered great-niece, Regina. Despite a vow to stay out of the investigation, Veronica’s loyalty to her friends draws her into the case.
Veronica crosses paths with a shady contractor, brassy hairdresser, overwrought lawyer, and adoring Czech housekeeper as she searches for both killer and work of art. Whom can Veronica trust, and who will lead her to the brink of death?
This light drama was well-position in that it was easy to follow, it had a comfortable tone and it had a nice steady pace to the reading. In this latest caper of an ex-soap opera actress turned amateur sleuth, Veronica is asked to do some investigating when her friend’s relative becomes the prime suspect. This was nicely done and I love the cohesiveness in how the story was presented. I was very intrigued as to how this was all going to play out with the interaction of the regular cast and the probable suspects. The author did a great job in keeping me busy with the clues and when I thought I had it figured out, the author changed direction which only enhanced the telling of the story. I also liked that surprising twist surrounding the events leading up to the killer’s identity, that I didn’t see coming. Good job. I enjoyed this book with its friendly cast of characters, engaging dialogue and small-town atmosphere and I look forward to the next book in this likable series.