Stung: Laura Wharton
Sometimes situations that can be annoying or make you angry just might bring about good results that you do not expect. Sam McClennan loves sailing in his boat, Angel, but even boats get tired and when it frizzles out and he needs to get some major repairs done lucky for him that he is able to dock close by to someone he has not seen for a long time. Aunt Lou is someone who might seem like a Senior but don’t you dare say that out loud or to her face. I am so with you Aunt Lou. Spunky, full of energy and definitely the best cook on this planet, Aunt Lou is so glad to see Sam at her door: Why? she has just be accused of murder? Can you believe that? Would she go and kill the man she was supposed to marry? Harvey Bishop was the man and he as you will learn was not only a wonderful person, benefactor to so many struggling people in this small town of Edenton, but was loved by everyone who knew him except someone who did not. The major murder weapon was not a knife, blade or gun it was bee stings. Was he allergic to them? Were they poisonous bees? Why would anyone suspect Aunt Lou? Well, Aunt Lou has her own bee hives out back and although she takes good care of them and makes sure that no one gets close enough to get stung she and Harvey had a falling out and could this be the way she taught him a lesson?
House arrest is what Lou had to sustain but things get out of control pretty fast as someone wants her silenced, someone wants to hide what really happened and Sam realizes that she needs to be protected until the killer is revealed. James Bradley is the detective assigned to check up on her everyday. Having a break in a while back was cause for alarm and since Aunt Lou was not a flight risk or anything else they allowed her to remain at home with James taking care of her needs, medicine or food supplies on a daily basis and certainly never complaining since each morning he was pleasantly greeted with some great coffee and a delicious piece of something decadent and sweet.
When the medical examiner finally renders a report something unusual happens as bee stings are the cause of death and Harvey might have been killed by them or was it something else? What was the motive as Sam learns just what kind of prejudice a small town can have when he tries to get a slip for his boat and get repairs and is denied because he is Lou’s nephew. Not wanting to talk about it he just claims the man was too busy with other things leaving him in a quandary when he cannot find anyone to help he calls and enlists the help of Molly his hard to handle, spunky and outspoken sidekick. From the moment she enters the story the energy level rises, things take on a different take as we learn about Harvey’s daughter Monica who creates a chance meeting with Sam hoping to do more than just say hello.
Trying to get Sam to be more romantic with her and prying into his life, wanting to learn more about Aunt Lou something sends up several red flags and Sam realizes that Monica is not all that she appears to be. Enter Molly whose attitude towards Monica is anything but friendly and when things spiral in different directions Molly decides to snoop, wander and even break and enter somewhere she should not be to find out who might have killed Harvey and why. Checking out the hive that Aunt Lou tends and then taking samples with the help of James, of the bees and what is left of them in Harvey’s house, things take on a different picture and the ones at the crime scene just might have been planted and since Lou is the only one that houses bees it seemed logical that she was to blame. But, there are so many people that loved and admired Harvey and then there is Lester who wanted his own form of restitution and revenge. Enter Gus who works for the cannery that Harvey owned plus some of his friends that would like to continue on there but will they be able to as Lester thinks he is owed the land and the cannery and has big plans for what he wants to do there. But, just what will the will reveal and who inherits? Things change minute by minute as Molly becomes more involved with proving that Aunt Lou is innocent but someone out there wants her out of the way and not just temporarily. Molly’s snooping and one clue changes it all something interesting comes to light as a murderer is revealed but just who has been hiding in plain sight and why? Why didn’t anyone realize it? In a small town they gossip, criticize and even overrun anyone who does not belong. Molly realizes that something is odd and when trying to befriend Monica you won’t believe the conversation and the scenes. Two women: one Sam who will win?
When the crime scene is accessed and assessed just who broke the window, who tried to repair it and who planted the bees? When the will is read and the recipients learn what they received several are quite happy and two you might say got stiffed or not what they expected or thought they deserved. Every step of the way Sam follows the path to the killer and with the help of James in spite of how the Chief of Police belittles him and does not appreciate his great police work, what happens and leads them to the killer and why shows that Sam just might need to be the chief in this small town, that James should be promoted and that Edenton is a town that you don’t mess with the law. Sam is excited that he just might reconnect with his son and will Lou connect with Sam’s father after so many years. This is a story about love, family, revenge, jealousy, hate, greed and passion. A passion for the fun of sailing, freedom of being able to enjoy the open waters and yet a passion for family and some type of stability. Once again author Laura Wharton takes us inside the mind of a demented killer, shows us the sights and the places of interest in this small town and allows us to enjoy and savor the aromas, smells and maybe someday the tastes and the recipes of Aunt Lou. One killer who thinks he/she can outsmart them all. One Molly who won’t rest until she is proven right. But, the killer is smart and this person’s acute ability to see through her puts her in danger and Sam too. Will they survive what this person has planned? What about Molly? Just how badly hurt is she and will she come out alive? An ending that will definitely endear you to Aunt Lou who has a system for doing things her way and boy could I use her help now. She is smart, astute, spunky and says it how it is and maybe Harvey is out of the question but what about James and will she remain in Edenton or will there be more changes made? What about Sam and Molly or Sam and Monica? Who wins? Who loses and who else just might get STUNG?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine