Reviewed by A.R.K. Watson
This is the feisty lady-doc origin story I have been waiting for. Golder once again proves herself to be an excellent character writer in the mystery genre. Looking back, her first book about my no-nonsense older lady Dr. Jane Wallace, felt like Golder was just sticking her toe in the water of her writerly talent. Dying for Revenge was the stand-alone trial book that geared me up for this one. New readers can read either book in any order they wish but this book felt like Dr. Wallace’s superhero origin story.
When her boyfriend, Irish writer Eoin Conner, gets accused of murdering his ex-wife, staunchly Catholic Jane has to face the idea that the man she is falling in love with might be one of those criminals she’s spent her life putting behind bars. Not content to leave things as they are she steps out of her lab and flies to the green isle to search for answers, answers that might also reveal some dark crimes being committed within her own Colorado town.
This is her first time solving a mystery outside of her lab and it was interesting to see the normally confident heroine grapple with things outside her comfort zone. It was a bit like watching Spider-man learn to crawl up walls for the first time; thrilling with the knowledge that we’re being set up for a series of great mysteries.
This story didn’t just develop the main character’s detective chops. Golder pulls in almost all of her the side characters from the first book, giving each a chance to solve an element of the mystery. The mystery itself wasn’t overly complicated but I loved seeing the origins of this detective team come together.
Ireland too was wonderfully characterized. Given the romance around it, I’ve read more books and seen more movies set in Ireland than I know how to count. This book actually made me feel as though real people lived there. Telluride too remains its same strange place with it’s idle rich and their strange fads (well, strange to this Southerner). I am quickly falling in love with Golder’s talent for capturing the spirit of a good setting.
If you are a fan of cozy mysteries, travel and character-driven plots with lady heroines who break the mold this is the book for you. And, even though one of the main conflicts of the plot revolves around whether or not Jane’ s boyfriend got an annulment with the church, the story can be enjoyed by anyone from any faith or secular background. It’s refreshing to see an honest account of Catholic characters. There is even a point at the end where Catholic Jane and another secular character who supports euthanasia, are able to put aside their differences enough to team up and take down a criminal. If you’re looking for your next mystery series to delve into look no further.
Year Published: 2017
Author’s Worldview: Catholic
Themes: euthanasia, Ireland, annulment, divorce, suicide, Colorado, marriage, Church law, dementia