Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Harrison is still a good main character
Cons: Sub-plots overshadow the mystery
The Bottom Line:
Back to a weak plot
But Harrison pulls us through
Death of an Old Flame
Harrison Black, owner of the candle making shop At Wick's End, returns for his fourth mystery, A Flicker of Doubt. In the first in the series, he inherited the store and the building it is in from his great aunt. Now, he has to run his store, manage the tenants in the rest of the building, and solve the occasional murder.
Despite the fact that she was found in the river, the coroner declares her death an overdose. That immediately sets off warning bells in
Harrison's mind. Becka hated pills. There's
no way she would take them willingly. When the sheriff concludes it was a
suicide, Harrison feels the need to
investigate to find the murderer.
facing some other problems. A developer is trying to buy the undeveloped land
next to his story and turn it into condos. When Harrison
tries to visit his neighbor to talk to him about it, the man refuses to see
him. And, two of Harrison's tenants are still
feuding; each threatening not to sign a lease renewal if the other stays. How
can he cope with all of this?
As with the other books in the series,
is the glue that holds the story together. His honor and stubbornness make him
instantly likeable, while his recklessness and lack of tact get him into all
kinds of trouble. His relationship with Eve, his employee, is still rocky. I
can never decide from one page to the next if I like her or not. I wish we'd
really delve into her a little more in the series. Taking a larger role in this
book is Harrison's friend Markum. He's always
intrigued me, so I was glad to see more of him.
Unfortunately, the plot could have been better. Killing off a series character is always risky, but here it worked well. I'd never especially liked Becka, but I felt sorry at her demise. Too much time is spent on the other problems
Harrison is facing, and
not enough time is spent developing the mystery. That's probably because it was
rather thin. I knew early on who the killer was. Even so, the ending felt a
The writing style is smooth, making the book easy to read.
Harrison's first person narration helps us get into his
head easier. Since he's my main reason for reading, I like that. At a slim 228
pages, including recipes and candle making tips, this is a fast read.