Review: Rachel Goddard's harmonious life in the mountains of Virginia hits a rough patch when her childhood friend is accused of murder in Broken Places, the third mystery in this series by Sandra Parshall.
Rachel's life seems sweet: she has a small, but thriving, veterinary practice and has fallen in love with Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger. But she's drawn into a murder investigation when she's a witness, sort of, to the murder of Cam Taylor, editor of the local newspaper. Cam had visited Ben Hern to plead for money to save the paper, Ben being not only an old friend of Rachel but the local celebrity, a Cuban-American artist whose work is highly regarded, and the author of several comic strips and children's books. Shortly after Ben threw Cam out, Cam is dead from a gunshot. Rachel heard the shot but didn't see who fired the gun. Soon thereafter, Cam's home is destroyed by fire, killing his wife. Their daughter, Leslie, arrives in town and demands Tom Bridger arrest Ben Hern. With little evidence to support her claim, Tom refuses. But Leslie is familiar with the past between Rachel and Ben, and threatens to use her leverage to expose secrets best left buried.
The intricate mystery plot of Broken Places is carefully constructed, augmented by a cast of characters — both good and evil, with some unexpected interpersonal relationships — that have something to hide. But secrets aren't always kept for selfish or malicious reasons, a key element in a story that ultimately puts Rachel in danger and truly captures the reader's attention and keeps the suspense and tension level high. The narrative moves along quickly and the identity of the killer, and the reasoning behind the crimes, comes as a surprise. Broken Places is a memorable entry in a series that keeps getting better.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Broken Places.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Broken Places for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Disturbing the Dead
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), March 2007
ISBN-13: 9781590583784; ISBN-10: 1590583787
Location(s) referenced in Broken Places: Virginia
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Broken Places by Sandra Parshall — A Rachel Goddard Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: February 2010
List Price: $24.95