Murder in the Mist
Review is by Molly
Willard Scott’s Murder in the Mist co-written with Bill Crider is a cozy type mystery filled with intrigue, murder, chicanery, duplicity and lots of interesting situations, characters and fun.
The narrative opens as a somewhat reluctant Stanley Waters is being reassured that his Confederate Uniform is a good fit for him. As with many who are not reenacting diehards; Stanley is a tad uncomfortable. Passionate reenactors enjoy the dressing in period garb, sleeping in tents while wrapped in quilts and laying on the ground. Setting up the Yankee and Confederate camp site is as much of the living history as the battle reenactment itself.
Stanley Waters, the former weatherman now is the owner of a B and B in the fictional town of Higgins, Virginia where he has become good friends with various of the denizens of the town. Virginia was key to the Confederacy as well as to the beginning of the nation itself.
Whatever Stanley’s concerns might be he found that the reenactment was fine, up to the minute he got shot. Stanley knew the story of the Battle of Higgins, his grandfather had related the story often during Stanley’s childhood. Reenactors do not use live rounds, nothing could go wrong.
So how did local business man Rance Wofford get killed and Stanley wounded?
Stanley, retired weatherman has a new avocation; he worked with local police to solve a murder not long ago and is ready to lend a hand this time too. While he does not have official status, in fact he is viewed with less than enthusiasm by most of the police force as he bumbles is way to the truth. Of course, his on again off again semi romance with the local police chief does keep Stanley out of too much trouble with the balance of the small police force.
As Stanley moves about town talking to folks readers follow along, clues emerge, some are real, some are red herrings typical of the cozy genre. Peopled with a whole flock of enjoyable characters from Stanley’s Uncle who lives in a ‘home’ to various of the townsfolks the members of Stanley’s cast of acquaintances emerge with all the warts and quirk, tics and idiosyncrasies as do we all. That Rance Wofford was a rather loutish fellow who may well have needed getting shot becomes apparent, that some of Stanley’s old TV cronies are pretty normal human beings, jealous, petty and out for themselves becomes apparent, that the murderer is going to be caught also becomes apparent. What is not apparent is just who that person is and why the murder took place. Interesting twist there.
Weatherman turned author Willard Scott, in tandem with writer Bill Crider, creates a small town feeling on the pages of Murder in the Mist. His Bed and Breakfast, complete with three housecats, and a housekeeper cook, does not have television in the parlor; rather the old upright radio is brought into play. Stanley offers guests opportunity to listen to tapes of Fibber McGee and Molly and others of the fare of the day found during the decades when families did gather around the radio to listen and laugh or gasp depending on the program of the moment.
Writing teachers always tell student write what you know; it follows that Scott would write about a TV Weatherman, Stanley Waters and his life following retirement.
As an appealing cozy set in the foundation state of the Confederacy and the nation, Murder in the Mist offers a skillfully wrought story line fleshed nicely with detailed settings, characters and notions. Filled with loads of Southern hospitality, notions and a nice y’all come feel Murder in the Mist is an enjoyable read sure to keep the reader chuckling, turning the page and pondering why someone did not do Rance in a whole lot sooner.
Note: I found the small illusory skirmish fought at Higgins during The War, as a setting for a re-enactment to be excellent. Civil War Buffs enjoy reenactments large and small, and every skirmish, tussle and actual battle will have those who are sure it must be studied, reenacted and discussed. As a person who has attended reenactments, helped with reenactments and taken part in reenactments; I enjoyed reading of the one carried out as the starting point in this highly entertaining work.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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