Dead-End Detective

Hallmark. (Piper & Porter, Bk. 1). Aug. 2020. 328p. ISBN 9781947892798. pap. $15.99. M
If Darby Piper had known Samantha Porter, her business partner in Two Girls Detective Agency, would be murdered, her last words with her might not have been an argument. Samantha told Darby she was leaving the agency to be head of security at Lake Waters Retreat. After Samantha’s death, Darby learns she doesn’t inherit her mentor’s share of the business. Instead, it goes to Tate Porter, Samantha’s nephew. He’s not a PI. He’s a veteran and world traveler, but when he shows up in town the day after his aunt’s death, Darby is suspicious. Too bad she’s the primary suspect. Her car is missing, presumed to be the vehicle that was involved in Samantha’s fatal car accident. And the police know about her fight with Samantha. She might be not only out of a job and a place to live, but in prison. Tate’s willing to work with Darby to find the person who wanted his aunt dead. Now, if only Darby can believe it wasn’t he.
VERDICT The lead characters, with their realistic flaws, kick off a well-developed mystery that isn’t quite as cozy as Flower’s “Amish Candy Shop” mysteries. The cast and two interesting cats will appeal to readers of Miranda James.

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