MYSTERY

Snowed in with Murder: An Otter Lake Mystery

St. Martin's. Feb. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781250077790. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466889958. M
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In Wallace's third Otter Lake installment (after Pumpkin Picking with Murder), family and romance come first—even in a snowstorm. Erica Bloom returns to New Hampshire to try things again with Sheriff Grady Forrester at her hippie mom's island retreat. Despite an approaching blizzard, Erica discovers her mother has rented out the retreat to the odious Boatright brood, who are there to take part in what surely will not be one of America's great television shows: Rich Bitches. An approaching Nor'easter and quality television are ingredients for murder, of course, and soon Mr. Boatright is no more, after perhaps prophetically announcing that one of his family members would kill him to get their hands on inheritance money sooner rather than later. Erica, with Sheriff Grady in tow, races to find the killer before he—or she—strikes again.
VERDICT Despite its always pleasant lakeside setting, this work unfortunately fails to come together, with disparate story elements and side characters who seem to blow in and out of the narrative as quickly as the winter's biting wind.

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