Friday, December 30, 2016

Another Challenging Case for the Monkeewrench Gang

Minnesota certainly seems to be a very dangerous place to live, and the bodies seem to fall right and left in the North Star State. Happily, though, there seem to be a lot of homicide detectives up there to continually put things right, including of course, Lucas Davenport, Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere, that F***ing Virgil Flowers, Cork O'Connor, and Leo Magozzi and Gino Roiseth, among others.

The last team inhabits the world of the Monkeewrench series, written by the mother-daughter team, P. J. Tracy. And for Magozzi and Roiseth, if for no one else, things have been a bit slow lately. After their last big case, the Twin Cities seem to have calmed considerably and murder has been taking a holiday. "Homicide is dead," one of the detectives complains.

Which, naturally, falls into the category of Be Careful What You Wish For.

The hiatus is interrupted when Magozzi and Roiseth are called to the scene of a very puzzling murder. An elderly man named Morey Gilbert is found shot to death in the back yard of the plant nursery that he has run for years. It's raining and so his wife, a small elderly woman, thoughtfully moves the body inside and wrestles it up on a table. She shaves the victim and dresses him up so he'll look his best and only then does she call the cops.

In the process, of course, she has (conveniently?) destroyed almost all of the evidence that the detectives might have hoped to find at the scene. Naturally, they wonder why she might have done this. They're also curious about the behavior of the couple's son, Jack. Jack is one of those obnoxious personal injury lawyers who advertises on late-night TV. He drinks heavily and has been estranged from his parents for over two years for reasons that no one will discuss. But, just as the detectives begin to narrow in on the victim's family members, another elderly person who lives just down the street is also murdered. And then another...

Well, you get the picture. Someone is running around this neighborhood, killing elderly citizens and neither Magozzi or Roiseth nor any of their fellow detectives can figure out who or why. All of the victims were much beloved. None of them had any enemies, and there isn't a clue to be found.

In the meantime, over the last few months, Magozzi has been pursuing the world's slowest-moving romance with the troubled computer genius, Grace MacBride, of the Monkeewrench outfit that figured so prominently in the first book in the series. When all other avenues have reached a dead end, Magozzi asks Grace if she will apply her computer skills to the problem, knowing that she will doubtless be prowling through databases where she and the police have no legal right to be. And what she discovers will turn this case upside down.

This is another very entertaining entry in this series. It has it's light and breezy moments and a fair amount of humor. The characters are appealing and the plot is engaging. All in all, a fun read.

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