By Whose Hand is the third cozy mystery in Sandra Carey Cody's series featuring Jennie Connors, Activities Director at a retirement home. In each of the books, Jennie is assisted by some of the residents of Riverview Manor. The residents, and the home, play crucial roles in the mysteries, and, in this one, Jennie survives thanks to a couple shrewd seniors.
Jennie is divorced, with two children, and dependent on her salary as Activities Director. Perhaps that's why she allows herself to be manipulated by Leda and Preston Barrons, the owners of the home. The couple almost blackmail Jessie into assisting them, threatening to withhold her salary. There was money transferred into their son's account at Preston's bank, money that was raised by a Gala at the home, meant to assist the residents. The Barrons are convinced their son, Web, didn't do it, and urge Jennie to investigate in the offices at 2 AM. She should have known there would be trouble.
During the course of her 2 AM visit, Jennie stumbles across a body in Preston's office, and, while searching for the security guard, he finds her, and suspects her of the murder. Jennie isn't under suspicion for long, but the Barrons continue to insist that she help them find the person who moved the money, and then killed Preston's assistant.
If a woman is blackmailed into going into a bank in the middle of the night, finds a body, and is suspected of murder, it can only get worse. Fortunately for Jennie, the residents of Riverview Manor have skills to bring to the investigation.
Jennie was an ineffective amateur sleuth, in my opinion. She needed the retirees at Riverview to assist with the case, or she might not have found answers. Even so, she never actually knew who the killer was, until she was trapped. The Barrons manipulated and used her, and she allowed them to push her around. I would have preferred a stronger, more assertive, amateur sleuth in By Whose Hand. And, if Jennie was so dependent on the seniors, they should have been fleshed out. They were actually the most interesting characters in this cozy mystery. By Whose Hand was unsatisfactory since there were so many aspects of the characters and storyline that should have been fleshed out.
Sandra Carey Cody's website is www.sandracareycody.com
By Whose Hand by Sandra Carey Cody. Thomas Bouregy & Co, ©2009. ISBN 9780803499485 (hardcover), 265p.