Death in the Details

Crooked Lane. Apr. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781639107186. $29.99. M
DEBUT In 1946, Maple Bishop is a war widow stuck in a small Vermont town, lonely and feeling rejected because of her own quick temper and inclination to blurt out the truth. Desperate to make her next mortgage payment, she asks the local hardware store owner if she can set up a corner in his store to display the dollhouses she builds. She makes her first dollhouse sale to a grumpy farmer and his wife but finds no one at home when she delivers the completed structure. Instead, she finds open barn doors and the body of Elijah Wallace hanging in his barn. The sheriff, showing no interest, immediately concludes that Wallace’s death was suicide, but Maple wants to convince him the man was murdered. He’s not interested in her re-creation of the death scene as a nutshell miniature, but she pushes on when a young deputy seeks to work with her to uncover the truth.
VERDICT Inspired by the real-life mother of forensic science, Frances Glessner Lee, this fascinating, solid debut will appeal to historical mystery readers who enjoy novels based on actual people. Suggest for fans of Michael Oren’s Swann’s War.
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