Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Review: Death in Lover's Lane by Carolyn Hart (Henrie O #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great story with interesting characters
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Classic mystery
That keeps you turning pages
So enjoyable

The Death of a Student Spurs Henrie O to Action

Death in Lovers' Lane is the third book in Carolyn Hart's Henrie O mystery series. Released in 1997, it allows us to finally watch Henrietta "Henrie O" Collins on her home turf. After a successful career as a journalist, the now seventy something teaches at Thorndyke University in Derry Hills, Missouri. And Henrie O lives up to her nickname as she leads us through enough twists to make famous short story writer O. Henry proud.

This semester, Henrie O is supervising senior Maggie Winslow in an investigative reporting directed studies class. Maggie wants to make her final project a series on three famous unsolved cases from town. There's the death of two students ten years ago in Lovers' Lane. Then the case of the local businessman shot in his own backyard. Finally, the dean of students at the college disappeared more then 20 years ago.

Henrie O's only requirement is that Maggie dig up new facts. And she must have done that because not too long after Maggie starts, she turns up dead, left in Lovers' Lane.

The police start focusing on suspects related to Maggie's personal life, but Henrie O is concerned the killing must be related to one of those old cases. In order to ease her conscience, she starts her own investigation. But can she solve the old crimes? Even if she does, will it lead to Maggie's killer?

With not one but four mysteries involved in this plot, I'm sure it will come as no surprise when I say there was never a dull moment in the story. In fact, I had a hard time putting the book down. The story moved from one clue or revelation to another with just enough time to absorb one before moving on to the next. And the ending is truly satisfying if bittersweet.

Also not surprising, there are a plethora of characters. When I realized just how many there would be, I was worried I'd need a cheat sheet to keep them all straight. I had nothing to fear. The characters were always introduced in a setting or with a tag that would jog my memory. Yet it was all done so artfully that I hardly noticed most of the time. Of course, it helped that each character was fully developed, allowing their personalities to help them stand out as well.

And the writing was superb. The first person narration was artfully written. I will admit it took me a few pages to get into the flow of the writing. It's written at a slightly higher reading level then most of the books I read. But once I did, I was able to consume it just as quickly as I normally would.

Those looking for an artfully constructed mystery with wonderful writing need look no further then Death in Lovers' Lane. I'm looking forward to meeting up with Henrie O again in the near future.

And if you want to read more of Henrie O's cases, here are the Henrie O Mysteries in order.

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