A Talent For Murder
by Teresa A. LaRue
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432831059
Date: 21 October 2015 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Southern belles hold sway in Teresa LaRue's A Talent for Murder, A Flower Patch Mystery. Kate Spenser, owner of the Flower Patch, doesn't quite trust her aunt's new fiancé. The smooth lothario is charming middle-aged women and accepting gifts while romancing them. However, someone catches on to his scheme and the swain ends dead with Lulu Mae, Kate's aunt, as the prime suspect.
Happy Spencer, Kate's mother and Lula Mae's sister, is determined to prove her sister's innocence. Trying to restrain her efforts puts Kate at odds with her ex-boyfriend, Lieutenant Steven Griggs who is looking for a rematch.
There are no friends among the older ladies when it comes to swains. Kate is disappointed and saddened to see old friends become sudden enemies. When a once friend of Lula Mae is killed, she becomes a suspect because of a quarrel with dead woman over Percy Moss. He is also a suspect and was last seen fleeing the dead woman’s house.
Happy is determined to prove her sister's innocence and will stop at nothing to do it. Kate, with her mother and aunt in tow, sets out to find the missing swain and uncover his past. According to her aunt, he has some things belonging to her deceased husband. Happy insists Lula Mae is likely to know where to look for Percy.
The dead victim was a wealthy widow and has a son with an avaricious wife. Kate takes a dislike to the wife. The couple is anxious to settle the estate and for Lula Mae to be tried for murder.
Kate proves to be a good detective and pieces together Percy's past and his many swindles. Matters heat up when incriminating evidence is found in Lula Mae's car.
While played for comedy, the characters are more stereotypes than real people and may turn off some readers. However, the humor and the plot twists will please most as will the dramatic ending. Similar in many ways to other series mystery novels, especially those issued by Berkley, the setting and quirky characters give it some charm.