Poisoned Pen, Sep 2008, $24.95
In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the first reaction by everyone to the assault on veterinarian Carla Beaumont and the subsequent hijacking of her truck is that the criminal was after the drugs she carried. Stunned by the attack on her currently hospitalized friend, dairy farmer Stella Crown agrees with the consensus, but revises her opinion when other female professionals are assailed with no males harassed at all.
The police continue to cling to the drug theory assuming that the perp believes women are easier targets. The violence widens as a new female pastor’s office and the truck of a woman driver are vandalized and medical physician Dr. Peterson is killed. Stella begins to investigate with her MS afflicted boyfriend Nick covering her back.
Stella is extremely opinioned as judge and executioner based on her first impressions upon meeting someone; this often leads her into inadvertently forming red herrings about people and cases. Her abrupt often false conclusions make the tale and the series (see THE DAY WILL COME) fun to read as the heroine is not the crown jewel of amateur sleuthing though she is wise enough to adapt her theory; this leads to excellent whodunits as she overcomes her initial estimations to achieve success. Fans will enjoy eccentric Stella, loyal to a fault to her friends and acerbic to her enemies.