Aurora Anderson is the latest women sleuth on the block. And her tole painting leads her to a fatal brushstroke. Henery Press brings us one more cozy mystery set in a small town California beach community.
Aurora or Rory – say what you will, the only ‘Rory’ in my mind is Alexis Bledel – has inherited a small house from her grandmother. She is a freelance computer programmer and has a simple enough hobby – painting by numbers. Her garden produces a unique plant, actually, the hand of a dead woman. The corpse follows. The person in the garden turns out to be Rory’s painting teacher. And the investigation is on! Detective Greene is on the scene and Rory is questioned.
We learn that Rory has a murky past, not of her choosing. Her parents were arsonists who were responsible for the death of the local Sheriff’s family. She was adopted at the age of two and her mother owns a local crafts store. The Sheriff has it in for her and she becomes suspect number one. What can a girl do? She enlists top realtor and gal pal Lizzie to get to the bottom of the mystery. Nora, a fellow artist, is the only person who stands by Rory and helps her out.
Hester, the dead woman, had a grown up son who she didn’t get along with. Her friend Trudy is having an affair with her husband. Burglar alarms are being triggered all over town. A local reporter is hounding Rory, trying to get the ‘real story’. Rory manages to help out her mother in the store, do her work and also moonlight as a sleuth. The girls ogle the new detective and agree he is a catch. Rory visits the beach for walks and some solace, and wonders if she should move away from the small town.
Fatal Brushstroke is a good read. The suspense is maintained well till the end. Unlike some mystery novels, there is no queer sidekick, and there are no high jinks. Rory just appears to be a simple girl, normal enough to be slightly boring. Mystery lovers have a new sleuth to talk about with Fatal Brushstroke. As a first book, this will serve to establish background and we are sure to see the character of Aurora Anderson develop further in upcoming books. Or at least we can hope so!