Title: Star Spangled Murder
Author: Leslie Meier
Series: Lucy Stone Mystery #11
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books
No. of pages: 292
Published: 2004; 2005
My Rating: 4 Stars
Another sign that the crazy days of summer are in full swing arrives when a group of naturists--a.k.a. nudists--descends on Tinker's Cove, skinny-dipping at the pond that borders Mrs. Pratt's property, giving her something else to complain about. Worse still, the local lobstermen are upset about poachers--and suspicion falls on Mrs. Pratt's husband and son. Then the July Fourth fireworks are canceled to protect a patch of extremely rare purple-spotted lichen, and Mrs Pratt is the victim of a hit and run.
Tinker's Cove is full of suspects, but none with so personal a motive as the Stones. Their feud with Mrs. Pratt has put them at risk of losing their freedom this Independence Day--unless Lucy can start things off with a bang by catching a red, white and blue killer. . .
Mrs. Prudence Pratt is Lucy Stone’s nemesis. More accurately put, Mrs. Pratt is Kudo’s, the family’s dog, nemesis. Kudos keeps escaping and killing her blue-ribbon chickens. Before the Stone family can correct the matter, Mrs. Pratt will go to any means necessary to have the dog destroyed. As if enough isn’t going on in Tinker’s Cove, there are some trying to cancel the upcoming fireworks display and a colony of nudists, or more accurately referred to, naturists, have descended upon the local pond.
Oh, and let’s not forget the serious concern that the lobster trade might be affected by poachers. As a part-time reporter, Lucy is trying to cover at least one of these stories...well, she would rather leave the naturists to her boss.
Sort of a spoiler here...but each story in this cozy mystery series contains a murder...
Mrs. Pratt is dead. Her manner of death is beyond all doubt a murder. Since Lucy is concerned that the police are looking at her for it, she decides to check into it for herself. Will she be able to locate the murderer without bringing danger to herself?
For a relatively short book, the story is quite busy. There is the requisite family drama, the aforementioned murder, Lucy’s hectic job, and a bit more. This is a nice addition to the series that I have been enjoying thus far. This is a quick read, and despite some serious issues, it is rather light-hearted.
Star Spangled Murder is book eleven in the series. The next book is New Year’s Eve Murder with twenty-five to-date. These are all delightful reads and I look forward to continuing. I encourage readers of this review to look at my other reviews from this series on this blog. Also, here is a link to her series in order:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I started writing in the late ‘80s when I was attending graduate classes at Bridgewater State College. I wanted to become certified to teach high school English and one of the required courses was Writing and the Teaching of Writing. My professor suggested that one of the papers I wrote for that course was good enough to be published and I sent it off to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine’s Department of First Stories. I got $100 for the story and I’ve been writing ever since. The teaching, however, didn’t work out.
My books draw heavily on my experience as a mother of three and my work as a reporter for various weekly newspapers on Cape . My heroine, Lucy Stone, is a reporter in the fictional town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, where she lives in an old farmhouse (quite similar to mine on Cape Cod!) with her restoration carpenter husband Bill and four children. As the series has progressed the kids have grown older, roughly paralleling my own family. We seem to have reached a point beyond which Lucy cannot age–my editor seems to want her to remain forty-something forever, though I have to admit I personally am dying to write “Menopause is Murder!”
I usually write one Lucy Stone mystery every year and as you can tell, my editor likes me to feature the holidays in my books. Of course Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year and my newest mystery “Eggnog Murder,” is included in an anthology with two other Christmas novellas by Barbara Ross and Lee Hollis. I’ve long been a fan of the classic English country house mystery, and was a faithful watcher of “Downton Abbey,” so I couldn’t resist trying to write one. I think I succeeded rather well, if I do say so myself, with “British Manor Murder,” which came out in October, 2016.
My books are classified as “cozies” but a good friend insists they are really “comedies of manners” and I do enjoy expressing my view of contemporary American life.
Now that the kids are grown — we have five fabulous grandchildren — my husband and I are enjoying dividing our time between Braintree and Cape Cod, along with our cat, Sylvester.