Read Recently — April 2016 — Crimes

Malled To Death: a mall cop mystery by Laura diSilverio

The third MallCop mystery keeps up the high entertainment value of the first two. This time, EJ’s father has decided that his latest action film, Mafia Mistress, should be filmed at EJ’s mall. This is great for business, but terrible for security (and Security), the mall being full of actors, crew, and onlookers, most of the actors being in costumes. EJ also doesn’t want people knowing she’s related to Hollywood royalty, so while she’s enjoying seeing her father on a more regular basis, keeping their professional relationship professional is proving difficult.

Another cause of annoyance is that since the murder of the former head of mall security (in the last book), a new head has been selected by mall management and her only qualification for the job is being related to mall management. She’d rather be a fashion designer and is spending time she should be spending running security instead designing new uniforms for them — leaving Joel, the youngest member of the team and the most self-consciously out-of-shape, terrified that he might actually have to wear one of them.

The action doesn’t really get started, though, until EJ’s father Ethan shows up with a letter he’s received since arriving in the area (he and EJ’s mother are renting a house in the area)–demanding that he stop making violent movies “or we’ll stop you”. This doesn’t really worry him; stuff like this is pretty standard crank mail (and, it turns out, everyone working on the film got one of these). He also isn’t worried about the stalker letters he’s been getting for some years now, but EJ gets worried.

It turns out there is cause for worry, as EJ finds a badly injured young woman in a mall bathroom; the woman dies on her way to the hospital. She was, it turns out, prop-mistress on the set. Suspect number one is a traumatized vet who’s a casual friend of EJ (she feels sorry for him, and feels guilty for having gotten out of the service with a (relatively) minor physical problem while he’s got serious mental issues) who she saw fleeing the scene.

Of course, the threats to Ethan escalate . . . could his stalker be the killer?Or is something stranger going on?

In addition to the main mystery, EJ finally finds out what’s going on with the mysterious, highly competent, probable-cop of a cookie-baker she’s been flirting with since the first book. And there’s movement on that relationship, too, which is nice.

So, a decent mystery, fun characters, and series movement. This is highly recommended, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

The Massey Murder: a maid, her master, and the trial that shocked a country by Charlotte Gray

In February of 1915, Charles Albert “Bert” Massey was shot to death on his front doorstep as he returned from work in the evening. Carrie Davies, his household maid-of-all-work immediately confessed to the policeman who arrested her, and was quickly arraigned and placed on trial.

Fortunately for Carrie, Toronto in 1915 was engaged in an major newspaper war (there were a lot of newspapers in those days) and one of those papers, being more class-struggle oriented, paid for a decent lawyer for her. The power elite of the city was rather more concerned that she be disposed of, the Masseys being one of the most wealthy families around (ironically, Bert Massey wasn’t wealthy, he having been disowned by the family patriarch at a young age (the patriarch was Bert’s grandfather; when Bert’s father died grandpa tried to take the kids over and raise them himself–particularly when their mother remarried. However, when young Bert decided he would rather live with his mother, he was out of the will . . . and, for the most part, the family). He made a good living as a car salesman, though).

Not much mystery here; mostly the book is about the trial, the newspapers, and Toronto a century ago. Well-written, informative, and recommended.

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