A Jane Lawless Mystery by Ellen Hart
Review: Jane Lawless investigates a 35-year-old murder in The Mortal Groove, the intriguing 15th mystery in this series by Ellen Hart featuring the Minneapolis restaurant owner.
Jane's father has been asked to run to be Governor of Minnesota following a stroke by the Party's original nominee. Though less than a year remains until the election, he agrees. A longtime associate of the family, Randy Turk, joins the campaign as a legal advisor who recommends a friend he's known since the Vietnam War, Del Green, as campaign manager. All seems to be going well until another Vietnam buddy shows up, Larry Wilton, broke and acting suspiciously. When a newspaper reporter, a former lover of Jane's close friend Cordelia, is brutally attacked, Jane begins to look into the story she was investigating and finds a link to her father's campaign staff: the murder of a young woman in the early 1970s in which Randy Turk's brother was accused, and then acquitted.
Some of the best mysteries have multiple, and often intricate, plot threads that weave in and out of each other until the very end when a complete picture is formed. The Mortal Groove is one such mystery. There are a number of instances where a subplot seems to arrive to a satisfactory conclusion only to have another one intersect with it and render the first active again. When done well, as it is here, it's really quite a remarkable reading experience. In terms of characters, Jane and Cordelia play off one another very well and make a terrific amateur sleuthing team.
The only discordant note in the book is the thriller action sequence that takes place in northern Minnesota. There's nothing necessarily wrong with the way it is written nor is it inappropriate to the story; it just seems out of place and somewhat inconsistent with the way the rest of the book is constructed. This minor point aside, The Mortal Groove is an outstanding example of amateur detective fiction.
Acknowledgment: Breakthrough Promotions provided an ARC of Mortal Groove for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — 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
Location(s) referenced in Mortal Groove: Minneapolis, Minnesota, Iowa
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Mortal Groove by Ellen Hart — A Jane Lawless Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: December 2007
List Price: $25.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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