When Dwayne Bryant receives a phone call from his son, Cal, to come visit him the next day, he reluctantly leaves his new wife, Deborah Knott Bryant, and North Carolina to drive to Virginia. Cal proudly displays him in his full police uniform for Show and Tell. Dwayne was proud of his son if inwardly a bit irritated for making the one day drive for this. But by the end of the school day, Dwayne discovers Cal was left alone the previous night. That is unlike his ex-wife, Jonna. Dwayne decides to take Cal home over the weekend until Jonna comes home.
But the next day, Cal disappears. A woman approaches him while he is feeding his dog, whispers to him, then he leaves willingly with her. The neighbor sees them and tells Dwayne that Jonna came and took their son. Now Dwayne goes into panicked father mode as well as police mode. Within another 24 hours, an Amber Alert is called for Cal. Deborah quickly joins him in Virginia while they look for Cal and Jonna.
The clues keep returning to the historic Morrow House. Jonna and her sister Pam, who lives in Tennessee, are the remaining two descendants of the two wealthy families of Shaysville. The Morrow House belonged in her family through both her mother and father. She works there part time because of her family pride and sense of history. But the clues don't tell much other than some antique guns and jewelry are missing. One ring is found in Jonna's discovered purse.
For the first two thirds of this cozy mystery I was stumped. But then enough clues fell together and an unexpected character appeared that I had it figured out before the end. I wouldn't have if I had been inside the story, but as a mystery reader, I could tell. Margaret Maron's easy, quick writing pulled me right through. It took a while to get Deborah involved in the book. I'm used to her first person narrative and enjoyed the book more once that resumed.
This book focuses back on the mystery and puts the family as story background. The past few books of the series were, rightly, more focused on the family and less on the mystery. Because the mystery involves family, this book combines both in a crafty mystery.
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These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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