January Thaw: A Murder-by-Month Mystery

Midnight Ink. Jan. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780738738758. pap. $14.99. M
Librarian Mira James knew Maurice Jackson, the young black man from Chicago who had recently become a library regular, because he had asked for local history books about Battle Lake, MN. So she is horrified when his corpse floats just below the ice during the community's Winter Wonderland festival. Maurice's link to Battle Lake appears to be the historic Prospect House Civil War Museum. If Mira can tease out the clues left behind, perhaps she can fulfill a promise made 150 years earlier. Alas, Mira's own personal meltdown threatens to throw her off course, and readers familiar with her struggles with alcohol will worry.
VERDICT Lourey's trademark humor effectively complements the soft-boiled investigating by the in-training PI Mira James. Those looking for an engaging, multigenerational small-town mystery that tackles contemporary issues can't miss with this entry, number nine in the series (after December Dread).
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