Winter House by Carol O’Connell



Winter House (Kathleen Mallory Novels) Winter HouseCarol O’Connell; Berkley 2005WorldCat

There is a dead body in the Winter house. Nedda Winter, a 70-year-old woman, admits to killing the burglar who has a pair of shears sticking out of his chest. She was protecting herself and her unstable niece when the man broke in. Mallory and her partner Riker are the homicide detectives brought in to handle the case. It looks obvious and easy. But Mallory and Riker sense there is more. The ice pick in the dead man’s hand doesn’t look right. Miss Winter has a hidden history that Riker knows because of a family obsession. This is not going to be an open and shut case.

Sixty years earlier a family was massacred in the Winter house in the affluent section of New York City. Three children survived, one disappeared, and all the others were killed. The baby, one of the survivors, disappeared when she was older. Now only the oldest boy, Lionel, and one sister, Cleo, survive because they had left the house for a walk in the park that day. The oldest girl, Nedda, disappeared that day. Only now has she returned to her home. Her niece, Bitty, Cleo’s daughter, searched her out and brought her back to the stately house. No one expected that Lionel or Cleo wouldn’t want to see or accept their sister back after all this time.

Mallory is certain the man who was found with shears in his chest was hired to break in and kill Nedda. But who? And why? Mallory gets Charles Butler, her genius friend and colleague to visit Nedda. Charles immediately likes and wants to protect the older woman. He brings her to his home and begins to understand and empathize with her. Can the two of them protect her?

This is a fascinating mystery with a surprise twist. Carol O’Connell pulled together a believable story and good characters to tell a tale of a 60-year-old murder that reaches into the present. Family secrets are discovered. More people are hurt.

Unfortunately for me, it is harder for me to accept Mallory, the protagonist for this series. She is a sociopath on the right side of the law but has few visible emotions or feelings. She doesn’t connect with people. The only thing that keeps her human is the friendships her father cemented for her when she was young. There are enough glimmers of the hidden, wounded soul under that exterior to keep my attention through this novel. I already have a copy of the next one sitting on Mt. Bookpile, so I know I’ll read that one as well. But after that? It’s difficult to say.

More books by Carol O’Connell
Mallory series at Stop! You’re Killing Me!

Link to BooksLink to BetterWorld Books

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