Review: When an apparently accidental fatal fall is later changed to a homicide, librarian Meg McLean finds herself a person of interest in the case in Beyond Confusion, the third mystery in this series by Sheila Simonson.
Meg is struggling to balance the priorities of serving the community while managing a tight budget. A recently approved tax levy will help, but not enough to cover the costs of a new bookmobile and a branch library on the nearby Klalos reservation. Help on both fronts are offered but Meg's efforts are continually stymied by her co-worker, Marybeth Jackman, who puts up obstacles every step of the way. When Marybeth falls from her home's deck overlooking scenic Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, she's both concerned and a bit relieved. "Meg felt trapped at the point in a story when a secondary character, usually female, clasps her hands to brow or bosom and says, I just knew it, I had a bad feeling." When the coroner later determines that she was pushed, Meg — along with many others in Latouche County, who had incurred the wrath of Marybeth Jackman — finds herself a suspect in her murder.
Though a murder mystery is at the center of this novel, that aspect of it is probably its least compelling element. By far more interesting are the characters, even including the murder victim; the Pacific Northwest setting; and the overall environment in which the action takes place. Indeed, this is more "novel" than "mystery novel" as the murder takes place relatively late and the case is wrapped up equally early. The pacing is brisk, however, and there is a lot of activity to keep Meg busy as the investigation into Marybeth's death moves along. There's a nice balance of humor and drama, and overall this is an enjoyable read … just not a particularly mysterious one.
Acknowledgment: Perseverance Press provided an ARC of Beyond Confusion for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
An Old Chaos
Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback), September 2009
ISBN-13: 9781880284995; ISBN-10: 1880284995
Location(s) referenced in Beyond Confusion: Washington State
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Beyond Confusion by Sheila Simonson — A Latouche County Mystery
Publisher: Perseverance Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: April 2013
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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