Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Cart Before the Corpse-Carolyn McSparren

The Cart Before the Corpse
Carolyn McSparren
Bell Bridge, Oct 1 2009, $14.95
ISBN: 9780984125838

In the middle of a horse show, a runaway horse frantically races to get a carriage hitched to him off. Soon afterward Merry Abbott receives a call informing her that her famous southern carriage-horse trainer Hiram Lackland is dead. After years of estrangement they were finally finding their way back to one another but his death ends any chance of full reconciliation. She drives to Mossy Creek where he lived in an apartment he rented from Peggy Caldwell, who takes Merry under her wing.

She knows her late dad had started a horse farm giving driving lessons to lonely females. The local sheriff calls Hiram’s death an unfortunate accident, but Peggy insists he was murdered over the use of his land. Peggy persuades Merry and Police Chief Amos Reardon that a homicide occurred. The Chief claims jurisdiction and asks GBI investigator Geoff Madison to lead the inquiry. The case proves complex and convoluted as the victim’s records are missing and evidence that someone is looking for them judging by the vreak0in at Hiram’s house. Whoever this culprit is, he or she is dead serious as potentially harmful incidents occur to Peggy and Merry.

Although the two women knew each other before Hiram’s death, they become friends afterward as Peggy helps Merry with the funeral arrangement, going through the deceased’s apartment, and helping with the horse farm, In other words Peggy is a supporting buddy, a trademark theme of the charming Mossy Creek saga.. Merry does not frighten easily, but instead turns angrily calm towards her unknown adversary. THE CART BEFORE THE CORPSE is a delightful cozy filled with humor, poignancy and danger as Carolyn McSparren spins Mossy Creek into a radically different direction.

Harriet Klausner

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