I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Cleaning woman and karate expert Lily Bard is a woman with a complicated past. Trying her best to cope with her terrifying memories and horrible nightmares, she decides to join a weekly group therapy session in her hometown of Shakespeare, Arkansas. At first, Lily can hardly believe the number of her fellow Shakespeareans that share her life experiences.
As it turns out, the group members' feelings aren't the only things that need sorting out -- they assemble for a session and find a woman dead, killed in bone-chilling fashion and deliberately left on display to send a twisted message. Who would commit such horrendous crime, and who is the intended recipient of the message?
Before long, Lily becomes embroiled in this disturbing murder and its aftermath, one in which the brutal killer's motives are entirely unclear. The truth is, the situation has dredged up more than a few of her own terrible secrets, and she may not be able to rest until she can untangle the who and why of this terrible crime. But can she accomplish this before the killer strikes again, and before her nightmares send her over the edge?
I read this book to match the “Amateur Sleuth” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo Card.
Another small town mystery and quite a contrast to “A Murder is Announced.” I enjoy Charlaine Harris’ mysteries, but she cannot hold a candle to Dame Agatha!
However, Harris does use the small town environment quite effectively. Where else but a small town would the cleaning lady, Lily Bard, be friends with the chief of police and his wife the doctor? And true to the nature of a small town, Lily knows most of the people in her counseling group and her counselor is a near neighbour.
Without all of these believable details, Lily couldn’t end up in the middle of a crime as often as she does! And, as with Agatha Christie’s small towns, people are people wherever you go and will surprise you with their reasons, logical or otherwise, for the things that they do.
This seems to be the last of the Lily Bard mysteries, so I will bid her farewell now. It seems a shame that she finally is getting her life together when her author has lost interest in her!