Murder She Wrote: Hook, Line and Murder
Murder She Wrote, Book #46
By: Donald Bain, Renee Paley-Bain, Jessica Fletcher
Author’s website: www.donaldbain.com
The USA Today bestselling Murder, She Wrote mystery series continues as Jessica Fletcher takes a relaxing getaway that turns into a reel deadly situation…
Jessica enters a fly fishing competition at a nearby lake. Joining her is the sheriff’s wife, Maureen Metzger, who surprises Jess with her enthusiasm for the sport. Their guide, however, is a surprise to both…
Brian Kinney is an ex-con. Jailed as an accomplice to Darryl Jepson, a convicted killer, Brian was later exonerated, but not before spending seven years behind bars. He seems like a decent enough fellow. Just a man trying to rebuild his life as a family man and fishing guide.
Yet when Jepson breaks out of prison vowing revenge, and the lawyer for both men is found murdered, Cabot Cove becomes the focus of the nation as local, state, and federal authorities descend on Jessica’s home town. And to add to the tension, Maureen has gone missing. Is she lost or is she a hostage? Jess soon finds herself caught in a net full of lies, deceit and ulterior motives. In order to save her friend, she’ll need to find some answers by hook or by crook.
Each time I read another “Murder She Wrote” mystery, I learn more about Jessica Fletcher. This time I learned that she enjoyed fishing – enough to have entered a fly fishing contest. She rented out one of two cottages owned by the mayor at Moon Lake for a week. The contest would last a few short days, and the rest of the time she planned to relax with some novels she had been waiting to read. Thanks to her old friend Seth, the local doctor who was concerned for her being on her own for a week where there was little cell service, Sheriff Metzger’s wife Maureen would join her for the days of the fishing derby. Maureen had not been fishing before, so Jessica tried to sound welcoming but her thoughts weren’t quite as charitable.
Shortly before the fishing derby began, a former local man, Darryl Jepson, who had been in prison for murder had broken out. It was thought that he was headed closer to the Maine-Canada border so there were few concerns about him among the locals.
Maureen’s husband dropped her off at the cottage the day before the contest began; Jessica already arrived. She had made arrangements with a local guide to take them to the better fishing places on the lake. Brian, the guide, was a codefendant of Jepson but was later exonerated and released after seven years in prison. While the sheriff was driving Maureen to the lake, he received word of a the body of a local man, the attorney of their guide, Brian, and escaped convict Jepson, being found in a fishing boat.
The first day of fishing was fairly successful, with even Maureen catching one of the types of trout included in the derby. Maureen had quite the sunburn, so she only wanted to rest. When Brian, their guide, stopped in that evening, he brought a remedy for sunburn that his wife wanted Maureen to have. Maureen looked kindly at the young man in spite of his past troubles. The next morning, she was still not feeling well from the sunburn so they agreed she would rest a while longer and if feeling better, she would go out on the late afternoon fishing trip. There wouldn’t be an afternoon trip, though, as when Jessica returned, Maureen was gone. Only one of the books she was going to read of Jessica’s was missing, and some of the food in the cooler. It was a bitter call that Jessica made to the sheriff to let him know that his wife was missing, especially when she learned that the escaped con was thought to be in the area of Cabot Cove after all. The sheriff was someone who Jepson had warned he would one day get even with; they were afraid Maureen would be his next victim.
Jessica Fletcher is someone I’d like to be more like – she is usually calm and level-headed (which I am not), probably from the years she taught high school. She is very well-spoken (the English teacher in her), a good judge of character, respected and esteemed in Cabot Cove. Loyalty is another of her traits, and even though I was surprised at her thoughts about Maureen joining her on the fishing derby, Jessica has lived alone long enough to be comfortable on her own. Maureen is enthusiastic, probably more sheltered, and eager to try things she hasn’t yet done. The sheriff is a man of few words, yet his love for Maureen is obvious. I felt as though I learned a bit more about each of these characters this time, and enjoyed meeting Brian.
The plot is fresh and appealing to this reader, even though I’m not someone who would enter a fishing derby. It was about so much more than fishing or mysteries – how a small community deals with the threat of an escaped felon, whether or not his former co-defendant should be considered innocent even though exonerated, the social status of someone who could commit murder or kidnapping. The plot is logically laid out, and while details are important they are not overwhelming. I appreciate Jessica’s concerns for Maureen and sense of responsibility to help find her – the kind of friend anyone would want. She also felt the importance of keeping her promise to Jepson’s aunt, no matter the risk to herself. It was unique in the series in that there was no significant mention of the latest book Jessica was writing. The end held two surprises with regards to the bad guys; overall the novel was extremely satisfying. It pulled me in from the beginning and held my attention throughout. I highly recommend it to fans of Murder She Wrote, well-written cozy mysteries, and mysteries in gorgeous settings such as Maine.