All Things Murder
by Jeanne Quigley
Cover Artist: ENC Graphic Services
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432828127
Date: 21 May 2014 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Winning an Emmy, even two, doesn't cut it when your long running soap opera hits the chopping block as actress Veronica Walsh learns. After thirty-two years, she faces starting over. Too old for the young, glamorous parts, she refuses to settle for health aids commercials aimed at seniors. She returns to her home town of Barton, New York to rest and decide her future. Then a murderer strikes her next door neighbor.
On her return to Barton, Veronica catches up on town gossip with her mother, her best friend Carol, and old friends. Most Barton shop owners are upset over the plans of a local farmer to sell his land to a developer for a shopping mall. They fear chain stores will drive them out of business. The mayor favors the plan, but the landlord of most stores, Anna Langdon, does not and, after a tense protest meeting, agrees to buy the land.
Anna also asks Veronica to meet her the next morning to discuss a business deal. When Veronica arrives at Anna's home, she finds the woman dead. Curiosity gets the better of Veronica, and she snoops after the police leave the crime scene. A fellow cast member from the canceled soap opera insists on helping her.
Few people liked the dead woman. Old flames and various store owners and managers provide plenty of suspects. Even the developer and the town mayor are on Veronica's list. Motives vary from jealousy to economic ruin.
Veronica's questions frighten some and anger others. Her best suspects, former lovers of Anna, fear the revelations could hurt their personal and professional lives. No one knows for certain what Anna's plans for the land might have been, while some fear she might develop it anyway.
This is the first Veronica Marsh Mystery. Gentle humor livens the action and makes for an easy read. The novel stretches a bit, but will satisfy most cozy readers. An exciting climax with Veronica risking her life will please others. However, the series will need more to continue to draw readers.