The Cruel Ever After
A Jane Lawless Mystery by Ellen Hart
Review: Jane Lawless is shocked when her ex-husband returns to Minneapolis, ostensibly to sell a rare artifact to a local collector, but he soon draws her — and her friends and family — into a murder investigation in which he is the prime suspect in The Cruel Ever After, the 18th mystery in this series by Ellen Hart.
Jane's marriage to Chester "Chess" Garrity was one of convenience. He offered her $300,000 to marry — and then promptly divorce — him so that he could inherit a fortune worth millions on his 30th birthday. She's always been a bit embarrassed by the whole arrangement, but since it helped her start her restaurants, she's made her peace with it. Seeing Chess after all these years, though, comes as a surprise: he's been living in Turkey and dealing in antiquities in Europe, but now also appears to be broke and in need of a place to stay. She takes him in, allowing him to live in an unused apartment she owns, but when the police come by, saying that Chess is a person of interest in the murder of a man found in a park, she comes to realize that Chess hasn't changed a bit, he's still running a scam … and once again she's involved.
The well-crafted plot of The Cruel Ever After holds a number of surprises for the reader. It isn't fast paced, or even all that intricate, but there's always a sense that something else is going on, simmering just beneath the surface. The last few chapters, where the various plot threads come together, feel a bit rushed, but that's only in comparison to the steady progression of the storyline to that point. Jane is at something of a crossroads in her life, and the story here allows her to reflect on what has been and where it may be going. It's introspective, but also touching in many respects. This is yet another entry in this series that continues to deliver superior mysteries with engaging characters in realistic settings.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Cruel Ever After for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Mirror and the Mask
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), November 2009
ISBN-13: 9780312375270; ISBN-10: 0312375271
The Lost Women of Lost Lake
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), September 2011
ISBN-13: 9780312614775; ISBN-10: 0312614772
Location(s) referenced in The Cruel Ever After: Minneapolis, Minnesota
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The Cruel Ever After by Ellen Hart — A Jane Lawless Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: December 2010
List Price: $25.99