A Date with Murder
Murder She Wrote, Book #47
By Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain, Jon Land
Author’s website: jonlandbooks.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Jessica Fletcher investigates a friend’s murder and a dangerous dating service in the latest entry in this USA Today bestselling series…
Jessica Fletcher takes up the case of her good friend Barbara “Babs” Wirth after Babs’ husband Hal suffers a fatal heart attack that Jessica has reason to believe was actually murder. At the heart of her suspicions lies a sinister dating site Hal had used while he and Babs were having marital issues, a site that may be complicit in somehow swindling him out of millions.
Jessica’s investigation reveals that Hal was far from the only victim and when his former business partner is also killed, a deadly pattern emerges. Jessica teams up with a brilliant young computer hacker to follow the trail but as she gets closer to the truth, two near misses force her to realize that she may very well be the next victim.
The stakes have never been this high as Jessica finds herself being stalked by the killer she is trying to catch. She must now set the perfect trap to avoid her very own date with murder.
I love this latest novel in the Murder She Wrote series! I was initially concerned, that with a new-to-this-series author, it wouldn’t be the same. I needn’t have worried, though. A Date with Murder far exceeds my expectations. The characters, especially Jessica Fletcher, shine as always. The mystery is superb, circumstances I had not thought possible, but apparently in our ever-changing world of technology, it is. Dialog and actions serve to define the characters as well as expedite this fast-paced novel. This novel can easily stand alone, but it makes me want to read all the earlier books when I can find them.
Jessica and her old friend Dr. Seth Hazlitt are at the annual Labor Day event at the home of Hal and Babs Wirth; Jessica is one of Babs’ closest friends. The Wirth’s will celebrate their anniversary in days, and the local Realtor, Eve, is taking videos of their friends with their best wishes. As many of the guests leave, Babs and Jessica find Hal on the floor of the kitchen. Seth sees to him as EMT’s are called. Hal has had a major heart attack and is transported to the hospital, where he is pronounced dead. Something just seems off about it to Jessica; Hal is relatively young to die from a heart attack.
Jessica is approached by a man who claims to be the Wirth’s attorney, wanting to know what she knows, and telling her to help Babs with the funeral, but to not look into anything else. When the real attorney shows up, he tells a distraught Babs that not only is there no money or property and instead, huge loans had been taken out. Babs and her daughter, Alyssa, have nothing. Except for a massive debt of $10 million that was opened in recent weeks…without a trace of where the money went. Then, Hal’s former business partner was found murdered.
What Jessica finds, with the help of a memoir that Hal was writing, a brilliant young computer hacker, and a PI/friend who has helped Jessica in the past, is chilling. It is also far-reaching, leaving a trail of deaths across the country. In spite of the risks, Jessica chooses to sign up with some online dating sites. Feeling safe with people who have her back, it is worth the risks to help get back her friend’s home and inheritance, and eliminate the enormous debt.
There is much I have to learn about Jessica Fletcher, since I have only read a few of these exciting mysteries, but I feel I know her a bit better after reading this novel. She seems more introspective than usual, in a good way. Long-time characters and those new in this story are very well defined. Based on the folks I’ve met, if Cabot Cove were a real place, I’d love to live there! Those who have lived there many years are down-to-earth, friendly people. Ay uh.
First, my condolences to the Bain family, losing Donald and Rene Paley Bain in a short time. Their great creative force will be missed. This mystery collaborated on by Donald Bain and Jon Land, is definitely a 21st-century novel, taking cyber crimes to a level I had not even dreamed possible! This is an excellent whodunit, with the good guys using technology against techno-killers, in a race against any more murders occurring, especially Jessica’s or Babs’. Plot twists change the landscape of the story, over and over, but none revealing who the real brains of the multi-level cyber-ring might be. I have not read a cozy mystery like it, nor have I read a cozy with as much edge-of-the-seat thrill as this one has for quite some time! While I had an idea who might be involved, I couldn’t put my finger on how, or when, so the end was still surprising. The resolution is also very satisfying, and I am so looking forward to the next one. I highly recommend A Date with Murder; it is not to be missed!