Murder Most Persuasive
An Elizabeth Parker Mystery by Tracy Kiely
Review: The sudden appearance of the murdered body of a man thought long gone — but not dead — causes everyone in Elizabeth Parker's family to recall what they were doing at the time of his disappearance … and why several of them may have had a motive to kill him in Murder Most Persuasive, the third mystery in this series by Tracy Kiely.
Elizabeth's uncle Martin Reynolds has died, and his widow Bonnie has agreed to sell one of their homes, a grand manor in rural Maryland. There's some dispute on who inherits the proceeds — divided equally among his children or shared with Bonnie — but that minor detail pales in comparison to what is found when the new owners dig up the backyard pool: the body of Michael Barrow, Martin's erstwhile business partner, thought to have embezzled millions of dollars from the company and run off years ago, never to be seen or heard from again. Of course, they now know why. Michael was more than just in business with Martin, he was engaged to his daughter, Elizabeth's cousin Reggie, when he disappeared. But Martin had a dark side as well, with secrets that other family members would just as soon remain in the past. Still, despite all the reflection on days gone by, Elizabeth finally asks what's clearly in the back of everyone's mind: if Michael Barrow is dead, what happened to the money?
The books in this series are inspired by the novels by Jane Austen — Elizabeth being an ardent fan, each chapter is preceded by a quote from one of her books — with Murder Most Persuasive having its roots in Austen's 1817 novel Persuasion. Readers familiar with the book may see some character similarity, particularly with respect to the interpersonal relationships depicted in this mystery. The storyline moves along briskly, there are plenty of red herrings to distract readers from the culprit, and overall Elizabeth makes for a clever and most agreeable amateur sleuth, right down to her own comparison to characters created by the Queen of Crime herself:
They all looked expectantly at me. I have to admit, I felt very much like an Agatha Christie detective, calmly explaining the solution while in an elegant drawing room full of people. All that was missing was a tea cozy and a plate of cucumber sandwiches.
A fourth entry in this series is almost certainly in the offing, as the book ends with Elizabeth on her way to Bath (England) for the Jane Austen Festival. What better place to serve up another murder mystery for her to solve.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Murder Most Persuasive for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Murder on the Bride's Side
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), August 2010
ISBN-13: 9780312537579; ISBN-10: 0312537573
Location(s) referenced in Murder Most Persuasive: Maryland
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Murder Most Persuasive by Tracy Kiely — An Elizabeth Parker Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: August 2011
List Price: $24.99