Running from Scissors ISBN: 9781732135802, Better Mousetrap Books is a ‘Running Store Mystery’ copyright and written by T. C. Westcott.
Plot: Lacy Purdy, is a forty-five-year-old divorcee now working for a friendly couple in the new-for-her town of Cedar Hill, near Tulsa, Oklahoma. The actual town is mid-sized but with the quite definite ambience of, and ‘cliquish’ undertones associated with, those of a town of much smaller size. She is somewhat hesitant in initiating new relationships, but as an above average runner has joined a local running club entitled “Run For It” and owned by Marti and Chase Reynolds. She has acquired a close friend, Juanita Stax Best, the outspoken, shoot-from-the-hip owner of the local book store she had renamed from “Best’s Cellar” to “Read It or Eat It” after installing a small food service area overseen by her younger, also adopted, non-Hispanic brother who had some experience as a ‘fry-cook’. The adopting parents were a childless Caucasian couple who had retired and left the business to them. The story opens with Lacy thinking “Today’s the day I’m going to kill her…” and moves gradually from here into the plot where Marlene Petrick, lead runner of the group, disappears on a local run and Lacy, because of a contentious confrontation with her after a quite demeaning remark had been made about her. However, as time progresses, more questions evolve as more suspicious activity is indulged in by several other characters and Ruby Maplethorpe, one of the older members of the running store, befriends Lacy. Ruby is one of the well-known, but for some time retired, older detective mystery story writers a lá Agatha Christie. The mystery ultimately is solved, largely though Ruby’s diligent attention to detail that is verified by the legally acquired support obtained by the knowledgeable detective Bentley recently arrived from his former similar position in a large eastern city.
Discussion: The author has set forth this first in a mystery series that is replete with interesting characters and a complicated plot where clues shift constantly among several individuals and all are provided in a package that devotees of the style provided by the early authors of this genre will love. Specifically, It spells out each feature in minute detail and keeps supplying many interestingly designed ‘delays’ before delivering the ultimate culprit.
Summary: A well-plotted, well-written story with interesting characters provided in the delightfully charming style reminiscent of ‘another time’.
5* Delightfully charming mystery in a style reminiscent of ‘another time’.
Broken Chord, A Music Row Mystery, Wordcrafts Press, an e-book copyright and written by Alice A. Jackson.
Plot: Sarah Ann Boswell, divorced after many years of marriage and children by prominent lawyer husband, attempts suicide by taking an overdose of pills. She is discovered, hospitalized and survives, interestingly while almost constantly attended by her Prayer Group – three married women and her next door once married male friend – that had been inseparable since early childhood. Because of hospital overcrowding, she has a roommate, Jill Edgerton who is recovering from a gall bladder removal. Jill is from Boston and has moved to Nashville and established a country music talent agency. Jill recognizes latent ability in Sarah Ann, offers her a job that soon becomes a partnership as her business acumen rapidly develops. A personal agent discovers Jared Parson from Jacksonville TX, introduces them, they discover him to be exactly the type of individual who rapidly rises to the top of the charts. Within three years he is the dominant figure in Country and Western and they are the most prominent agency on Music Row. Unfortunately, Jared has a hidden side that gradually begins to show itself with his wife, who became pregnant while they were very young and still in TX and other activities notable to his huge estate caretaker and a few others. The gradual development of the agency and interrelationships comprises most of the first half of the story where Jill, who as most knowledgeable accompanies Jared on tours, while Sarah Ann handles all company business, local shows, new talent interviews and the myriad of accompanying details. Suddenly a murder occurs and the entire situation faces the development of devastating consequences that bring many additional characters into the mix, including Sara Ann’s former husband John and of course heavy participation by her Prayer Group. The perpetrator remains somewhat hidden for a considerable length of time but ultimately emerges and the books terminates interestingly.
Discussion: The author has set forth first an enjoyable overview about development and activities of a musical talent agency in the ‘Home of Country Music’. Second, she has gradually morphed the story into a murder mystery peopled with interesting characters interrelating in numerous engaging ways. Some of the relationships, thoughts and actions provided may offer a few questions for readers who have little understanding of ‘the basic ways of the old south’. However, these should not interfere with one’s enjoyment. For those with this comprehension, an additional element of charm will be added. One small caveat should be offered in that the story begins rather slowly before building into its strength.
4* Enjoyable overview of country music agency work; -1 early lack of pace.