The third Morgue Mama Mystery, The Unraveling of Violeta Bell by C.R. Corwin, provides a little more proof that a crusty librarian may have a heart of gold, and a mind for crime.
Maddy Sprowls is the Head Librarian for The Hannawa Herald-Union, an Ohio newspaper. Behind her back, she's known as Morgue Mama to the staff, who depend on the curmudgeonly librarian. Against her better judgment, she suggests a story after she sees four women who hire a Yellow cab every Saturday to take them to garage and estate sales, using the same driver every week. When a young reporter writes the story, and one of the women is murdered soon after, Maddy becomes an unwilling investigator. It seems the paper's editor-in-chief is a henpecked husband, whose wife is a friend of the cab driver's sister. That explanation of Maddy's involvement is as convoluted as this fun mystery.
Soon, Maddy is checking out the stories of an eccentric cab driver, a retired striptease artist, and a claimant to the Romanian throne. As a librarian, she knows where the stories are buried, and has a fellow employee to dig around on the computer for her. Maddy is a credit to her profession, a librarian who might not know the answers, but knows how to find them.
The Unraveling of Violeta Bell reveals more about Maddy's personal life, as she digs into Violeta Bell's past. Who was the dead woman? Was she more than an antiques dealer? Was she really a claimant to the Romanian throne? As the reader learns more about the victim, we also learn more about Maddy, the appealing grump. The complicated plot, and Maddy's new complications in life, a boyfriend and a dog, as well as sleeping problems, makes C.R. Corwin's latest book the best in the Morgue Mama Mystery series.
The Unraveling of Violeta Bell by C.R. Corwin. Poisoned Pen Press, ©2008. ISBN 9781590585016 (hardcover), 230p.
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