by Sandra Ardoin
Murder Comes by Mail is the second book in the A Hidden Springs Mystery series by A. H. (Ann) Gabhart. You can check out my review for the first book Murder at the Courthouse here.
Disillusioned by his stint as a big city police officer, Micheal Keane came back to the hometown founded by his ancestors and became a deputy sheriff. In contrast, the love of his life, Alex Sheridan, prefers a fast-paced existence as a Washington, D. C. attorney.
I think of this series as more cozy mystery than the typical cop-as-protagonist story. It’s set in small-town Kentucky with a variety of endearing, somewhat quirky, characters like the no-nonsense Aunt Lindy and Hank Leland, the newspaper owner always on the lookout for a story that will sell papers.
While the first chapter is more of a prologue, the second chapter begins in a lighthearted fashion as Michael reluctantly drives the church bus to a play.
Behind him, nineteen members of the Senior Adult Ladies Sunday School Class chattered and fanned themselves furiously with folded church bulletins they must have stuffed into their purses for just this occasion. Nobody suggested putting the bus windows down. They were going to a play in Eagleton, and a few beads of sweat were a small price to pay to keep their beauty-shop curls intact.
Can’t you just see a young man forced to listen to the carryings-on of a bunch of ol … er… senior women?
Things take a serious turn, though, when they reach the bridge over the river and find a man about to jump, especially when the man warns Michael:
‘You should have let me go. It would have been over then.’ … ‘You’ll wish you’d pushed me.’
When people end up dead, Michael begins to question whether or not he did the right thing in rescuing a man bent on suicide.
Though Michael’s part in the beginning starts out with a fun scene, I was amazed at how the author flipped a switch and the story went from that cozy mystery feel to intense, emotional, and more personal. I felt for Michael as he dreaded the arrival of the mail and feared for the safety of those he loved. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
The spiritual aspect is light with Michael somewhat hesitant to place all his faith in God. The romance is on-going with both Michael and Alex unwilling to give up their individual lifestyles in order to be together.
This story’s premise revolves around a good deed gone bad and has a true sweetheart of a hero (what is wrong with Alex?). So my conversation question for today is:
Have you ever had a good deed go wrong or result in something unexpected?