Secret Lives

Poisoned Pen. Oct. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781728258300. pap. $16.99. M
When grad student Jesse Cooper hears gunshots, he discovers a fellow boarder, Jonathan Finch, dead in the street. Jesse worries when his 75-year-old landlady and distant cousin, Ethel Crestwater, comes out. He’s shocked though, when she tells him she called 911, but she wants him to film the crime scene while she investigates for evidence before the police arrive. Then she hides Finch’s gym bag in the basement. Jesse knows Ethel’s boarders, including Finch, were Secret Service and FBI. A former FBI agent herself, she has secrets. When Jesse is hit over the head, and the gym bag full of money is stolen, Ethel tells Jesse they can only trust each other. Following another death, Ethel points investigators in the right direction. She’ll use all of her skills and wits, along with Jesse’s knowledge of economics, to track down a killer hidden in plain sight.
VERDICT Add another wise, experienced senior sleuth to a group that includes Richard Osman’s “Thursday Murder Club” series and even Miss Marple. De Castrique’s (“Blackman Agency Investigations” series) quirky characters and offbeat twists will appeal to Osman’s readers.
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