My Sister’s Detective

My Sister’s Detective, a mystery/suspense/romance assumed to have been published, copyright and written by T. J. Jones.

Eric Slater has returned home after retiring from the Navy where he served considerable time as an NCO apparently somewhere around a Master Chief level in the Military Police, often working in affairs concerning Naval Intelligence and closely with civilian police. He is living in the home left to him by his loving mother who had died some time earlier. His mother for years had performed housecleaning chores for the mostly very wealthy residents of “Point Road”, a relatively short distance away. During summers when school was out and he was eleven and she could not find, or was unwilling to pay for a babysitter, he often accompanied his mother when employed. He sat in the car all day playing games and/or reading comic books. Eventually a few of her customers noticed him and invited him inside to read where it was cooler. One of these had a son a year younger than he. This David Templeton was a lonely boy with whom he formed a close relationship and soon he was spending most of his time at the Templeton home. The boy was gay but neither of the children were aware of the matter at the time. They were just two youngsters who grew into a closer relationship because they were too awkward for anyone to want on their team when games needing sides were chosen. The relationship was placed pretty much on hold during the school year because Davey attended private school while Eric’s was public. During summers, the relationship resumed and strengthened as the years went on but did not have any homosexual aspects. Eric was completely enchanted by Angie Jefferies who had a younger sister Maggie who was mostly ignored and otherwise a nuisance. The story begins to unfold years later when Davey is found dead in their barn, seemingly having hung himself. Angie does not believe it was suicide, Eric begins employing the investigational powers learned during his years as an MP, and the reader is taken on an intriguing journey through a complicated plot where presentation of more detail simply would be a disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion/Conclusion: A sensitive, partially qualified ‘detective’, caught in an investigation involving an old love, old acquaintances and a budding new love interest. The tale is an often amusing, occasionally poignant, purposely slightly sexist, suspenseful investigation of the darkest of criminal activity that involves closely related family members. A unique plot, interesting characters skillfully handled and suspenseful action throughout.

5* Most enjoyably suspenseful detective romance.

 

Finalities

FINALITIES, A Mattie James mystery, published, copyright and written by M. A. R. Unger.

The story opens with Matti arriving at London’s Gatwick Airport accompanied by Joe Chauncey, her occasional love interest and former CIA operative with many clandestine operations in his past. She, as a forensic facial reconstruction expert of some reputation working from the coroner’s office in Las Vegas, has been assigned along with another from England, to attempt to discover the identities of 3 soldiers found recently in an unusual shallow grave in Oxfordshire near an old Roman site. The three are believed to be American soldiers from the 1940’s when Americans were there preparing for the invasion of France. Unfortunately, only some dog tags eventually were discovered and these were bundled together shoved down the throat of one corpse. For undisclosed but supposedly cogent reasons both countries’ defense departments desired all activity to be performed with as little attention as possible. Matti, in her apparently usual manner, digs deeper into the mystery beyond doing her assigned job and becomes an object to be destroyed because desperate family members must keep unsavory activity from being revealed. Action shifts between Oxsfordshire and Las Vegas, USA where members of the family now are wealthy film makers with few scruples and with connections to a powerful mob boss of Matti’s acquaintance now have become active players. Other prominent characters include a retired army major, Gregory Reynolds, along with Matti’s assumedly long-standing wealthy friend Linda and her ‘inbetweener’ friend Abby – the spirit of a dead person still not having left earth for the beyond. The plot eventually terminates in a satisfactory manner.

Discussion/Summary: This sixth book in this mystery series is a well-written, interesting story with a quite unusual plot and provision of details of some lesser known forensic investigative techniques. Helpful bits of information also are gained at most appropriate times from Matti’s ‘inbetweener’ friend Abby. Parenthetically, Abby’s help amusingly brings to mind an inclusion many years ago in a science journal that often included cartoons and other amusing bits. One was of a young researcher had placed a long complicated formula on the blackboard as solution to a difficult scientific problem. An older mentor, points to a section in parentheses that had been included in the center of the formula and says “I believe we need a little further explanation here.” The section pointed to read “here a miracle happens”.

5* Interesting and often amusing mystery suspense thriller.