Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Devereaux Legacy-Carolyn Hart

The Devereaux Legacy

Carolyn Hart

Prometheus/Seventh Street, Feb 12 2013, $13.95

ISBN 9781616147044

In Rockport, Texas, Leah Devereaux Shaw buries her beloved grandma Louisa Abbot Shaw, the woman who raised her. However, Grandmother Shaw’s last letter and a much read magazine article stuns Leah who travels to Mefford, South Carolina where apparently her kin live. Her first stop in Mefford is the cemetery, which contains stones for her grandma, her parents and two years old Leah; all “lost at sea” when the New Star went down.

Leah heads to the family plantation that her grandma accompanied by baby Leah fled almost two decades ago. Her arrival is met by mixed emotions. Cousin Merrick Devereaux welcomes her; an extended family in-law Mrs. Leclerc warns her that the return of the Whispering Lady means death; cousins Cissy and John Edward Devereaux tell her to return to Texas or else; and her maternal grandmother Carrie Devereaux is stunned with a second chance to atone for her pride driving away her daughter in the 1960s. With a need to know why kind-hearted Grandmother Shaw vanished with her, Leah investigates while also attracted to Merrick.

This reprint of a 1986 Carolyn Hart romantic amateur sleuth is an entertaining tale that brings to life the author’s trademark Lowcountry setting (see the Death on Demand series). The cast is solid and the twists inside a taut suspense storyline plausible. Although the romance between the “kissing cousins” feels forced while supporting Ms. Hart’s Introduction’s contention on female mystery writing in the Reagan era, readers will enjoy this engaging “cold case” murder mystery.

Harriet Klausner

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