Sunday, March 16, 2014

Murder In The Worst Degree-F. M. Meredith

Murder In The Worst Degree F. M. Meredith Dark Oak Mysteries, Jan 23 2014, $12.95 ISBN: 9781610091459 In Southern California, two surfers riding a wave share the trip with a corpse. Rocky Bluff PD Police Officer Gordon Butler responds to their call before turning over the case to Detectives Doug Milligan and Felix Zachary. The cops believe the deceased is affluent Harlan Knight, whose adult children filed a missing person’s report a few days ago in which they said their widower father suffers from late stage dementia. Meanwhile Doug’s wife Police Officer Stacey Milligan and her partner Lizette Gibbs interview severely beaten rape victim Felicia Higgins. The ME reports that the cause of Knight’s death is not drowning, but an overdose of a prescription drug. Besides family members, the housemaid, the victim’s three Seabee buddies and a loving widow are suspects. New Captain Chandra Taylor uses a computer generated program to draw the face of the rapist from the description provided by his second horribly battered victim Jenny Jacoby. Stunned Stacey is horrified as the face looking back at her from the monitor is a younger version of Police Officer Ryan Strickland whose wife just gave birth to a cute Down’s Syndrome baby. The latest Rocky Bluff PD police procedural (see Dangerous Impulses, Bad Tidings and No Bells) is a wonderful leisurely-paced investigative thriller that deftly combines the cops’ personal lives with adapting to a new chief while working two violent crimes and several other offenses. Subgenre fans will appreciate F. M. Meredith's engaging rotation of the lead amongst her ensemble cast as the cases and what is happening off the job prove very interesting. Harriet Klausner

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