Peg and Rose Stir Up Trouble
Senior Sleuths #2
By Laurien Berenson
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Murder, She Wrote meets The Odd Couple in award-winning author Laurien Berenson’s brand-new mystery series, spun off from her much-loved Melanie Travis Canine series and featuring Melanie’s elderly aunts—tough-as-nails Peg and soft-spoken Rose—who’ll put their differences aside to stop a killer, if they don’t throttle each other first. The latest installment will tickle all cozy lovers, especially fans of “senior” sleuths in the tradition of Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher.
When a typically closed-off Peg attempts online dating at Rose’s strong urging, the experience plays out like an embarrassing mistake. At least, until she matches with Nolan Abercrombie—intelligent, attractive, and a self-proclaimed dog lover. The two share an instant connection that has Peg cautiously excited to finally bring someone special into her busy world of Standard Poodles and conformation shows.
Before Peg can admit that Rose was right and let down her walls for the budding romance, a terrible accident claims Nolan’s life. As details about his background and tragic death come to light, Peg has a serious hunch that someone successfully plotted to kill her first real date in decades . . .
With suspects galore and a slew of puzzling clues to peel through, Peg and Rose team up to solve a dangerous mystery unfolding before their eyes. The question is: Can the unlikely duo turn their radically different personalities into an advantage as they scramble to ID the guilty culprit—or will they manage to work against each other and find themselves precisely where a meticulous murderer wants them to be? (From Goodreads)
This is the first book I have read by this author, and I really enjoyed it! From the first page to the last, the intrigue, humor, irony, and engaging characters kept the pages flying. The characters come to life through realistic conversations and behaviors. I enjoy amateur sleuths of all ages, yet Peg and Rose are among my newer favorites in part due to their age. They may be “of a certain age”, but sometimes they squabble as if they were teens.
Peg, widowed for ten years, adores Standard Poodles. She used to breed and show them, and is now active as a certified judge for several breeds. Rose met and fell in love with the parish priest she met after having served as a nun for thirty years. She and Peter have been happily married for ten years. They were in Honduras for several years on an extended mission trip. They now run a home that was bequeathed to them as a women’s shelter.
Rose wants Peg to be as happy as she and Peter are, and knows her late brother wouldn’t have wanted Peg to spend the rest of her life alone. When Peg was visiting one day, Rose signed her up on an on-line dating app for “mature” people. Peg planned on deleting the account until she began to get messages from men – several of them. Some she chose to meet – once – and others not at all.
After numerous emails, Peg and Nolan met in person. He was intelligent, taller than her almost 6’ height, and they enjoyed each other’s company. Peg and Rose met him one day at a dog show; Rose had ridden with Peg to see what she thought of him. Nolan hoped to spend more time with Peg that evening, and was unhappy when Peg left with Rose. Peg had begun to realize some things about Nolan that irritated her. Rose’s thoughtful perception opened her eyes further.
Peg planned to address a couple things with Nolan, but she didn’t hear from him the next day, not even to return her messages. After a couple days, Peg and Rose saw on TV that Nolan died, the victim of a hit-and-run driver. Since he was on the sidewalk when hit, the driver planned to kill him. The local detective they were acquainted with from a recent murder they helped solve had called Peg, since her number appeared many times on Nolan’s phone. What they learned at his funeral convinced them to find who killed him.
It can’t be easy to try to work on something so serious with Peg, who is convinced that her way is the only way, especially for Rose, who was not allowed to make decisions or have opinions for the convent years. They are equals in every way except for their personalities. While Rose is kind and gentle but firm, Peg is pragmatic, sharp, and to the point. Beneath Peg’s bristly exterior, she still has a loving heart that even she doesn’t always recognize.
There were many potential suspects, especially after attending the funeral, then meeting the “support group” of victims of Nolan’s financial scams. Surprises multiplied with each plot twist, and when someone tried to run over Rose, Peg wanted it resolved. I didn’t have any idea who the increasingly desperate killer was, so I was surprised to find out. There were several situations resolved at the end of the novel, including some challenges in the neighborhood, and I was happy with all of them. I have not yet read the first in series, but felt it did not hamper my enjoyment due to the concise backstories provided. I highly recommend this cozy mystery!