by Nancy Pickard
pb by Pocket Books, 255 pages
Jenny Cain must surely have a unique profession among amateur puzzle solvers. She’s the director of the Port Frederick, Maine, Civic Foundation. The foundation, somewhat unusual in itself, was founded by leaders of this small coastal Maine town to do good works where other sources of money are no longer viable.
Unfortunately, her job and her natural curiosity frequently lead Jenny Cain into odd places and difficult situations. Many of those situations are life-threatening. In this book, Pickard, who has won or been nominated over the years for ten writing awards, weaves a story out of news stories that appear from time to time, about disappearing bodies. In this case, a visitor to the historic cemetery in Port Frederick discovers that the grave of one of her ancestors is empty. Jenny is a native of Port Frederick and in her concern for the woman who fell into the empty grave, she discovers that a great many graves in that cemetery are empty.
Curiosity more than piqued, Jenny Cain starts an investigation. The closer she gets to the answers, the more dangerous becomes the situation. And then there is the murder of an employee of the one funeral home in town. Was she killed to keep her from revealing fraud? Are there other reasons? What happened to the 113 missing bodies?
Pickard has in Jenny Cain a bright, chipper and credible young woman who can’t resist trying to help people with their difficulties and thus getting into trouble. Written with a sure hand, Pickard has provided a small cadre of intriguing characters who help give the novel texture, substance and positive pacing. They’re the kind of people we meet every day. They’re all people with secrets they don’t wish revealed. And some of the secrets we’d prefer not to learn. An enjoyable novel of the genre.
Review by Carl Brookins
Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky