Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Novel Way to Die-Karen Hanson Stuyck

A Novel Way to Die
Karen Hanson Stuyck
Five Star, Apr 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594146329

Helen Lewis calls University of Texas at Houston Criminology Professor Molly Patterson to say that her renowned mother, mystery writer Katherine Marsh dies from an apparent heart attack. Though not close to her mom, Molly is sad. She, her estranged husband Alex, and their two preadolescent children Annie and Will travel to Austin to arrange the funeral.

Tests by pathologist Dr. Lester prove that Katherine died from an overdose of Stelezine, an anxiety drug she was using while coping with ovarian cancer. Molly refuses to believe that her mother would take the drug as she rejected aspirin or that her mother would ever taken her life without taking care of her affairs as she was the queen of task management. However, her mom did provide generous Christmas presents as if she knew her time was short. She soon believes wannabe writer Suzanne Lang killed her mother, but all the evidence is in the final copy of her mom’s last book, “The Summer That Changed Everything” although the version Molly finds is an earlier one containing the wrong ending.

A NOVEL WAY TO DIE is an interesting whodunit wrapped inside a deep family drama. Whereas Molly believes murder occurred as she knew her mom well, everyone else thinks suicide. With a plausible final twist, fans will appreciate the criminologist professor investigating the death of her mother, a best-selling mystery author.

Harriet Klausner

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