Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Season
Murder, She Wrote #52
By Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
Author’s website: jonlandbooks.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Christmas has come to Cabot Cove, but a peaceful holiday season is not in the cards after Jessica Fletcher is pulled into a centuries-old mystery in the latest entry in this USA Today bestselling series.
With work on the reconstruction of her beloved home almost complete, Jessica Fletcher is in high holiday spirits, spearheading the annual Christmas parade and preparing for her nephew Grady and his family to come to town. The only thing dampening the holiday cheer is the discovery of two sets of bones on Jessica’s property: one set ancient, the other only about a year old. It’s concluded that they were both placed there during the reconstruction, and Jessica suspects that, despite the centuries between them, the remains might be connected.
Soon tabloid reporter Tad Hollenbeck arrives in Cabot Cove to write a story about what he calls “the murder capital of the country.” But when Tad himself is murdered, Jessica speculates that his arrival, his death, and the discovery of the bones are all somehow linked.
As Jessica digs deeper to find the connection between the bones and Tad’s murder, everything seems to come back to a mystery that has long plagued Cabot Cove. If she wants to solve the case, she’ll need to delve into her beloved town’s dark history, or else this holiday season may be her last.
Jessica Fletcher is one of my all-time favorite sleuths, and this latest novel solidifies that. I am continually amazed at her ability to observe and interpret! I enjoyed the history of Cabot Cove, love the well-defined characters, and the mystery is incomparable!
Jessica is happy to finally be back in her re-built home on Candlewood Lane after the fire many months earlier that almost destroyed the home she shared with her late husband. It is almost Christmas, and she is preparing to welcome her beloved nephew, Grady, his beautiful wife Donna, and their eight-year-old son who reminds her of Grady at that age and is named Frank after her late husband. Also invited are dear friends Dr. Seth Hazlitt, Sheriff Mort Metzger and his wife Adele, and Big Apple detective/ friend, Harry McGraw.
To get final inspection approvals, Jessica learns her septic system is not up to code and needs to be replaced. As the contractor excavates for it, they find something that could only happen to Jessica. That’s right, a body is found in the trench. Seth, the de facto coroner, went in the trench to examine the remains. There are two sets – one of a man possibly deceased more than 200 years ago, the other a woman, possibly only for ten to sixteen months.
There is also a well-made colonial period chest. All appear to have been very recently moved from another location. The chest contains documents and journals that appear to be about the same age as the chest and oldest skeleton and could possibly be the long-lost founding documents of Cabot Cove!
A man and two women arrive at the trench. Tad, the star of the tabloid TV show Stalker, his producer, and videographer have come to Cabot Cove, which he refers to as the “murder capital of the country”. They plan a show about the murders that have taken place since Jessica has lived there, even casting aspersions that Jessica could be behind them even as she writes her murder mysteries. He claims he will get to the bottom of the cause of all the suspicious deaths that take place in this idyllic little town. Later that night, he is on major news networks alluding to the big secret he is preparing to unleash – with video of Jessica and the sheriff inside the department office looking into the chest, taken through the a windows. The next night, he is found dead in his motel room.
Jessica, Mort, and Harry look into these deaths and trying to learn what they can about the founding fathers of Cabot Cove and their descendants. It is rumored that there was a much darker beginning to the town that most people are aware of, and Fred, president of the historical society and owner of a charming antiques store, is excited to look through some of the documents in the chest, especially when one of the documents corroborates some of the rumors. When it looks like the living descendants of the founding fathers have are targeted, there is great concern for the rest of the descendants who will ride at the head of the Christmas Parade as is tradition.
The characters are three-dimensional. There are little things we learn more about them each time. Jessica is very observant and able to brilliantly recognize clues and put together theories that many might miss. Seth continues to be the town curmudgeon, despite his role in the annual Christmas play. Having Harry and Grady and his family in town is a bonus, and one can imagine the first couple Christmas celebrations when Grady came to live with Jessica and her late husband brought to life through his young son. The one-time characters are defined as required.
The mystery is not easy to solve, even for this wonderful team of friends and professionals! Plot twists change things we may assume to be one way, offering a different way of seeing people and circumstances. I was startled several times at the discoveries! I also enjoyed seeing the traditions in Cabot Cove and how important they are to the residents. The resolution was quite a surprise in every way! I highly recommend Murder in Season; the series is fresh, relevant, and challenging!