The Dead Husband
A Sally Collier Mystery by R. J. Brown
Review: Charwoman Sally Collier discovers a whole new meaning to the phrase "cleaning up" when she discovers the body of her employer in The Dead Husband, the light-hearted debut mystery by R. J. Brown.
Sally owns her own company, Sal's Gals, a home cleaning service in Port Townsend, Washington. One of her clients, Renee and Mel Birnbaum, own a magnificent estate overlooking the bay. She's known the family for years and is shocked when she finds the body of Mel in the garden. Naturally considered a person of interest in the case, she's asked by her beau George Tullock, the Chief of Detectives for Jefferson County, to recall everything she can leading up to her discovery of the body.
At this point, The Dead Husband takes a look back at Sally's life, from her emigration from the UK to Chicago where she married and had two children, to her subsequent move to the west coast where she originally met the Birnbaums and, much later, her arrival in Washington where she sets up her business.
The point of this journey through time is to set up Sally as someone who pays attention to details, who "sees" things others might overlook. (It may also be setting up plotlines of future books in the series.) George knows Sally has this ability and uses her talent to point out what was different about the house from her previous visit, allowing the investigation into Mel's death to be steered in the right direction.
The Dead Husband is really all about Sally, who is so well-developed as a character that she can carry the story. In a word, she's delightful. She's the type of person one would want as a friend, a self-confident woman who knows how to balance what she wants in, and from, life and what she needs. She treats everyone with respect and care, and seems almost too good to be true. Which, of course, makes her the perfect suspect for a murder!
It will be interesting to see where the author takes the series from here, but as a first book, The Dead Husband is quite entertaining.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Dead Husband.
Acknowledgment: R. J. Brown provided a copy of The Dead Husband for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Dead Husband: Washington State
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The Dead Husband by R. J. Brown — A Sally Collier Mystery
Publisher: Big River Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: April 2009
List Price: $14.95