Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Review - 3 Sleuths 2 Dogs 1 Murder, by Maggie Pill

This light-hearted murder mystery is told by each of the three sisters own point of view from chapter to chapter. I like that. It’s like getting to be alone with each one of their bias and rivaling sibling opinions to find out what they really think of each other outside of the being polite dialog to their sister’s face. It is like being each of the sisters best friends, giving me insight about why each one is acting the way they are when the other is around. I just wish now I
would have read the first book in A SLEUTH SISTERS MYSTERY series before I read this second in the series.  Maggie Pill’s writing is very anodyne. Her characters are personable, likable, and realistic. The tension and suspense mixed with laughable situations the sisters find themselves in appeals to me. I will be reading all the books Maggie Pill has provided. Easy, entertaining, fun reading; I vote yes!

Retta, the sometimes chided sister, had gotten involved with a gentleman friend who is accused of murdering his wife. He, Winston Darrow, asks her sisters, who started the Smart Detective Agency without her, or even notifying her that they did so, to help him. Because their sister would be implicated in the murder investigation they notify Retta, who defends him by vouching he is definitely not capable of murder. Because of Retta’s relationship with their new client, and how she might certainly be tangled up in this mess by association, they involve her in solving the case. Her attraction to Winston Darrow takes a drastic turn as she finds out the embarrassing fact that he was married while wooing her, and much, much more.

Barb, the self-ascribed leader, the decision maker of the detective agency, is the sister responsible for excluding her baby sister that “drives us both insane with her meddling.”  As luck would have it her gentleman friend, Rory Neuencamp, happens to be the Chief of police in Allport, Michigan. A convenient advantage for her detective agency in that same town. The stress and near death experiences while solving the Winston Darrow case strengthened their personal relationship by the end of the book. 

Faye, the one with the office skills, patience and compassion for any living thing that crossed her path, the “softie”, is the bridge builder of the siblings. More than that, the caretaker of an invalid husband, his senile mother, then finally a crippled dog named Buddy she rescued after being run over by a car. The one who couldn’t stand to see her baby sister excluded from the Smart Detective Agency, getting Barb to agree to pay her a fee for the token title of consulting expert. Faye was frustrated by the fact Retta never cashed the checks because it made the bookkeeping difficult, so she went to Retta’s bank and arranged for direct deposits. An example of Faye’s bridge building, family mending tendencies.

In the end, Retta had met Lars, a G-man that showed up in pursuit of the bad guys trying to kill their client, Darrow, and really helped save the day. He is an attractive manly man, who could become Retta’s future gentleman prospect. Chief Neuencamp professed his love and intentions to Barb, not swayed by Barb’s reserved response. And Faye remains Faye, devoted to all. Retta has proved her value to the detective agency, and more closely bonded with her sisters, as people who share traumatic experiences tend to do (hold on to the seat of your pants when you hit Chapter Thirty-Two). Retta becomes part of Smart Detective Agency; immediately suggesting the agency's name be changed to “The Sleuth Sisters”. The sisters didn’t say anything…but, Barb’s tightened lips, and Faye’s look of “half plea, half warning” stopped Retta for the time being. I am banking on the fact that 'sisters will be sisters' in the next book, too, so am looking forward to reading more in the SLEUTH SISTERS MYSTERY series.

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