Fans of Cathy Ace’s Cait Morgan Mystery Series will be delighted that for the eleventh book in this series, the author has provided readers with a holiday outing called The Corpse with the Granite Heart. That is, as long as one do not mind their festive mood tempered with a succession of dead bodies.
Readers who have followed Cait Morgan and her husband Bud Anderson on previous adventures know that each book in this series is set in a different travel destination. For The Corpse with the Granite Heart, the accidental crime-solving duo is off to London, England where they will help to commemorate their friend John Silver’s engagement to Bella Asimov.
Their first order of business is a “celebration” dinner which is as much an introduction to the betrothed couple as it is a memorial event honoring Bella’s recently-passed father. However, how does a family celebrate a patriarch that none of them much cared for?
Before the meal can even begin, Bella’s sister Sasha falls (jumps?) from the house’s upper floor, spurring both Cait and Bud’s natural inclination to investigate to be triggered. Wanting to say out of the way of the official inquiry, Cait is skeptical about the ruling of suicide and it isn’t very long before another death pretty much confirms that something very sketchy is going on within the Asimov family tree.
Rather than number the chapters in The Corpse with the Granite Heart, Cathy Ace “titles” each of the short chapters with a Shakespearean quote, which hints at the action to follow. Since the legacy of the Bard ties into the plot of the novel in multiple ways, this is a nice subtle touch that will have English majors everywhere squealing in delight.
Cathy Ace makes plotting a complex mystery look easy. As the threads here intertwine in unexpected ways, readers will be amazed that she manages to pull off a clever solution rather than a true Gordian Knot of confusion. Cathy Ace’s books always owe a debt of homage to Grand Dame Agatha Christie, but with The Corpse with the Granite Heart the blend of “cozy” mystery, tragic family dynamics a’ la Shakespeare, and her incredible descriptions of gastronomical delights are pure catnip for crime fiction aficionados.
As always, the heart of the book – and the series – is the relationship between Cait and Bud. Longtime fans will enjoy this opportunity to spend the holiday season with these two lovebirds. Where they will jet off to next is anyone’s guess, but there is little doubt that readers will long to be packed away in their luggage so they can experience the investigation that is sure to follow.
Disclaimer: A galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.