But for the Graceby Patricia Brooks
No tears for the dead...
It was an assault on the sleepy hamlet of Grace, nestled on an island in Puget Sound: a crudely made wanted poster smack in the path of the upcoming New Year's Eve parade. Within hours, P.I. and ex-Chicago cop Molly Piper has a new client: politician Edmond Anderson
He had it coming. But who finally gave it to him?
No tears for the dead...
It was an assault on the sleepy hamlet of Grace, nestled on an island in Puget Sound: a crudely made wanted poster smack in the path of the upcoming New Year's Eve parade. Within hours, P.I. and ex-Chicago cop Molly Piper has a new client: politician Edmond Anderson Bercain, "Wanted for Crimes Against the People."
Bercain wants Molly to find the troublemakersso he can shut them up. But Molly's retainer is still hot in her hands when Bercain turns up dead. Executed with a blunt instrument.
As Molly delves into a wealth of suspectsdisaffected squatters who blame Bercain for their plighta series of clues arrive at her door: crude messages leading to a white house with dark goings-on, and chilling motives for murder. Suddenly the most private aspects of her lifeher boyfriend, a police chief on the mainland, and a troubled teenager she is mentoringare at risk. A killer is loose in paradise. And not all of his victims are dead....
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At 4'9', Molly Piper stuns people when she insists she is a private investigator. Most individuals do not take Molly seriously even though Washington State has licensed her as a professional sleuth. Molly has an office on Prince Island just off the coast. She has previously solved a homicide (see FALLING FROM GRACE) and is highly regarded by individuals who populate the valuable island real estate. Posters anonymously appear throughout the community proclaiming that Edmund Bercain, President of the East Island Chamber of Commerce, is guilty of crimes against the people. The aspiring politician is livid. He hires Molly to uncover the identity of the person behind the smear campaign. However, before she can begin, someone kills her client. The spouse of the deceased retains Molly, but her task is to learn who murdered her husband. As she digs into the victim's life, Molly learns he made many enemies due to his ruthless business methods, several of who had the motive to kill him. If one word is used to describe BUT FOR THE GRACE, grim would be the choice. The island weather is dark and damp. The heroine is alienated from her lover and her best friend. The murder suspects are more pitiful than feared. In spite of all that gloom, the story line contains a cleverly designed who-done-it with a shocking climax that will grab reader empathy. The characters seem like genuine individuals who enjoy being islanders so that they can avoid mainstream American life (whatever that is). Fans who enjoy unabashed realism will fully relish Patricia Brown's dark but compelling drama. Harriet Klausner