As the Crow Flies
Five Star, Apr 6 2011, $25.95
Zenith, Michigan CPA P.J. Benson gives a talk at the town library warning people not to get sucked into scams; the mantra is that if it seems too good to be true it is because it is too good to be true. After completing her presentation, elderly Ida Delaney hands a battered briefcase owned by her nephew Donald to P.J. She reluctantly accepts it.
Ida fears her nephew is blackmailing people over what is inside the briefcase: lab reports, maps, and soil samples that make several people look guilty of criminal activity. Not long afterward, Donald arrives at P.J.'s home, demands the briefcase and attacks her before leaving with it. Her boyfriend Kalamazoo Sheriff's Department Detective Sergeant Wade Kingsley warns her to back off, but P.J. obstinately refuses as she investigates a case that turns to homicide.
The second Benson Michigan cozy (see The Crows) is an interesting whodunit as the heroine and Baraka the Rhodesian Ridgeback investigate the case. The story line is fast-paced, but I had an issue with how the heroine’s boyfriend the cop (and others) handle the violence against her as if she is at fault for the assaults by her neighbor Nora and Donald. Still, fans will enjoy the intrepid amateur sleuth as she ignores Wade (except to wonder why he seems to have dumped her without telling her) and the threats to her life to continue her inquiries.