Murder Most Persuasive: A Mystery
by Tracy Kiely
Review by Gayle Surrette
Minotaur Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312699413
Date: 30 August 2011 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Each of Tracy Kiely's mysteries has echoes of a Jane Austen novel; in Murder Most Persuasive the echoes are from Persuasion. Partly, there is the element of second chances as Ann meets again the man she was persuaded to give up years ago. However, the strongest echoes are those of family and how family members can so easily pigeonhole each other and thereafter not see the growth, changes, potential, or competence of each other as they age.
Martin Reynolds has died after a very long battle with cancer. At the funeral, Elizabeth Parker, as well as the rest of the extended family members, is baffled by his widow Bonnie's repeated and loud statements about how sudden and unexpected his death was. At the reception after the funeral, Bonnie announces that she needs a break and is leaving for a spa retreat in a couple of days. To say the family was shocked is putting things mildly.
The next day, Anne Reynolds receives a call that a body has been discovered under the pool of the house that Martin had sold shortly before his death. The body is that of her sister Reggie's boyfriend and finance who'd disappeared eight years ago with no explanation and who was later found to have embezzled money from Martin's company. The Police Detective in charge is Joe Muldoon, the man Ann had given up at the behest of her mother's best friend.
Once the murder investigation begins many secrets come to light and the family begins to look at each other in new ways – some of which will change their relationships. There are secrets in all families and some should be kept, but others need to see the light of day.
Kiely deftly handles the various plot threads and the interactions between this fairly large cast of characters. The mystery is finally solved, but not without a substantial emotional cost to the all the people involved.