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Millicent's Tower by Rosalyn Rikel
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432827809
Date: 22 January 2014 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Millicent's Tower is an interesting debut novel involving an elderly woman, untold wealth, drugs, and guns. What begins as a duty visit by Rochelle Gallager and her family to an old aunt, soon turns into the family fleeing for their lives when Aunt Millie threatens them with a gun. Shortly after, the aunt apparently dies and her money disappears.

When Millicent Perkins's niece, Rochelle, and her family come for a surprise visit, they get a mixed reception from Aunt Millie. An elderly recluse, she wants nothing to do with anyone. Rochelle is shocked by the state of the once beautiful mansion and her aunt. Refuse and papers fill the place. The stench almost drives them out the door.

The decaying mansion was built for Aunt Millie by her husband, Bernard Osgood Perkins, also known as Boppa. During their marriage, he built the house and a lucrative business empire. When he died, contrary to the expectations of his friends and workers, he apparently left everything to his young wife. However, the original will in which he made many bequests never appeared. Now rumor has it that the widow has hidden the money away in her tower.

Rich, Rochelle's husband, has started a new business and a few extra dollars would make a big difference. However, he and Rochelle are determined to solve the riddle Uncle Bernie once told her. As the family explores their surroundings, they make one strange find after another. They find wads of money mixed into the piles of papers filling the main staircase. More is found in a cookie jar in the kitchen, and Shelly, Rochelle's daughter, finds a jar of money buried in the garden.

The novel uses multiple viewpoints from others not part of the family, including some once closely connected with Millie, but who now hate her. The novel unfolds slowly, feeding the reader a lot of background information. While providing a nice puzzle, the novel unfortunately has many of the problems of first books. However, the characters ultimately are interesting, but confusing in the beginning. Shelly, Rochelle's daughter, acts a bit young and na´ve for her given age, but Rob, the teenage son, is clever and likable. Rikel manages to keep a few surprises from the reader until the end.

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