A Willing Murder

A Willing Murder (A Medlar Mystery #1) by Jude Deveraux

I have never been a big romance fan, but every book lover (and librarian) has come across Jude Deverux’s name before. I mean she’s a big name in the romance game.

This is Deveraux’s first mystery and I never would have probably read it if it weren’t for the fact that when I was processing the book I happened to read this snippet on the back:

Some secrets are better left buried…

When he was done what he came to do, he patted the dirt down, then stood up. To make sure it was done right, he went around the tree again and again, stamping harder and harder, crushing what was buried beneath the soil.

As he walked away, he smiled at the peaceful houses around him. His small town was such a nice place. In fact, maybe ridding it of undesirables had been a favor to the neighborhood. A lesson had been learned, and nothing like that would ever happen again…”

WHAT!

Sara Medlar grew up in Lachlan, Florida with her brother-ugh the jerk who will not be named. She was deeply in love with someone, but a simple misunderstanding drew them apart and he married another woman and had children.

from my sister blog janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

She moved away, and became a best-selling romance novelist. After selling millions upon millions of books, she faced a big brick wall-writer’s block.

From there she needed something new and moved back home, to Lachlan, bought the beautiful old mansion she has always loved and renovated it.

She also became a godmother to the boy that should have been her grandson, Jackson Wyatt, helping care for him and encouraging him-even investing in his business.

Jackson Wyatt has had a hard life. His father was abusive and cruel, his mother leaving him-but Jackson still having to spend the summers with him (court order). When he was a boy, the girl who was his friend and he was crazy about, Cheryl, disappeared.

His stepfather, who was the only real father to him, passed away and passed on the business to him (the one that Sara invested in). His half brother joined him in the business but unfortunately, tragedy would strike again, as his brother was killed in a car accident and Jackson ended up with a broken leg.

Afterwards, he began to be depressed, so Sara and his mother decided to meddle in his life-and trick him into staying with Sara so she can keep an eye on him.

Kate has grown up with the only family she knows being her hypochondriac and manic-depressive mother, and controlling/manipulative uncles.

Family is a mess.

After her life took a downturn, she wanted something new. She discovers that she has a aunt, her brother’s sister, and decides she is going to meet her. She never knew her father-and is ready for some real answers-ones she can’t get from her mother.

Unfortunately, while she got a job, she couldn’t get a place to stay. She discovers that her aunt has a young guy living in there-and afraid that she is being taken advantage of-decides she needs to move in and protect her.

I better make sure you don’t take my aunt’s money.

Unbeknownst to her, Sara used the same fear to get Jackson to move in. Telling him that she was afraid her niece might be trying to take advantage of her.

Your help

Kate shows up and things go smoothly, until they go out to look at some property Jackson purchased, and they discover two skeletons, and that’s not a joke-I mean two literal skeletons.

One body is Cheryl and the other Jackson’s dad. The police want this wrapped up and plan on no investigation. This upsets Kate, Sara, and Jackson who want Cheryl treated right.

They all start investigating, but someone out there has worked very hard to keep this secret and will continue to do all they can to keep it that way.

Thoughts After Reading:

So first things first:

There was very little romance, which surprised me as this was Jude Deveraux. I’ve never read any of her books but I imagine them to have a lot. Correct me if I’m wrong.

I thought it was pretty good, and of course wanted to know what happened.

I liked the character’s interactions-although they all become extremely best friends in an instant and talk as of they have been friends forever-a bit premature for the time they have known each other.

The mystery was good, but I figured out the ending pretty early.

Voices in the Coalbin

“Voices in the Coalbin” from Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark

This was a great one.

Mike and Laurie met, married, and life was good. Mike a junior partner in his father’s law firm and Laurie a well-known soprano opera singer. They had a nice home which they were decorating.

But then that all changed. Every night she has the same nightmare, these people trying to take her and make her sing with them. She is afraid of everything and everywhere. She was raised by a hypochondriac, abusive grandmother who tried to have her fear everything. Laurie tried to break it, but it looks as of it has a firm grip on her.

Oh no!

Her therapist told Mike that it would be nice to go away somewhere. So he decided that they should go to his grandparents cabin in Milwaukee. Mike has all these great memories from his childhood but when they get there is it all gloomy and dark. It turns out there is a cold storm overhead.

They start looking through the house trying to sort what they might want from the cabin before it sells. As they search through the closets, Mike finds an old Victrola. He winds it up and starts playing Chinatown. A song that Laurie remembers from childhood.

Laurie freaks out when she hears it

And it turns out that her grandmother used to play that sing and she told her the voices were trapped in the coalbin. Laurie never went in the basement and coalbin ever again, and she still hasn’t since.

The two go down to the coalbin, Laurie feeling strong. And then the two go to bed.

The next morning Mike wakes up happy, and sees that Laurie is gone. He searches everywhere but the last trace was Laurie’s footsteps in the basement.

They find her body, she drowned in the river. But when they do the autopsy they find coal dust.

What?!

And later, when Mike is going through the house again-he listens to the Victrola-and hears Laurie’s voice on the record.

WHAT!

Great story, great ending.

For more from Death Wears a Beauty Mask, go toDefinitely, A Crime of Passion

For more Mary Higgins Clark, go to Stowaway

For more short stories, go to Zero Hour