The murder of Twelve
What happens when five feet of snow is dropped on. Cabot Cove? But first we find the sheriff, Mrs. F and Seth Hazlitt knee deep in solving a murder that will have them stumped and wondering who wanted to kill P.I. Loomis Winslow? Of course, Jessica with her keen power of observation notices things at the crime scene that the sheriff does not. Why was he in Cabot Cove? What was he investigating and who would tape the victim to the seat of his car by body taping him to the seat and leaving him there to die with the engine running? Why?
There’s much more as they survey the place where they found the car which is the old Cabot Manufacturing Company which has been closed for years and looks like it could collapse any minute.
Things get tense when Jessica notices gravel inside the car and something about it leads her to believe the victim was dragged from somewhere else back into the car. But since he was a P.I. she enlists the help of our favorite P.I. Harry McGraw who does some investigating and learns that this private investigator dealt with forensics delving into financial accounts of people who swindled others out of money. Just who was he meeting here and why?
Just when things were about to settle down the sheriff is called to a scene of an abandoned Lexus and with Jessica’s keen sense of observation they realize that there were three people in the car , all missing but two seemed to be running from something or someone. Things get more interesting when Jessica returns to Hill House where she’s staying while her house is being renovated. Entering the hotel, she is stopped by Constance Mulroy the mother of the groom who has yet to make an appearance along with the bride. A wedding is in the works but what happens will shock readers as a snowstorm or blizzard is in the air.
First the private investigator Loomis Winslow is found dead and the death made to appear like an accident. Second, an abandoned Lexus found and the passengers of the front seat nowhere to be found and the person in the backseat linked to the first murder. Returning to the hotel Jessica is approached by the mother of the groom on the pretense of wanting her to sign a copy of one of her books.
The wedding party is having their rehearsal dinner and the mother of the groom, Constance Mulroy has what appears to be a seizure but, someone poisoned her wine. Are these incidents connected if so how? Jessica is at this dinner and now she becomes part of the investigative team. Jessica learns from Mark Mulroy who says his twin brother Daniel and his son to be wife are stranded at the Roadrunner deciding on their future. But, is that true and what about a video shown throughout the meal bothers Jessica? At the same time someone breaks into Jessica’s room.
Things get tense when Jessica goes to the room with 11 other people that are part of the dinner and wedding guests focusing on the man who broke into her room and then wondering if Mark really heard from his brother. Calling Seth, they both realize that Constance was poisoned by someone using the pills that were in the medicine cabinet and learning 7 were missing and somehow wound up in her wine.
Learning more about these people might help her as she is on her own to solve the poisoning and of course Constance’s husband who swindled the bride’s father out of money and is upset that his daughter is going to be part of that family. A blizzard is creating problems with travel and Mort and his team plus plow workers to try and clear roads leaving Jessica on to hopefully solve what happened to Constance.
As Agatha Christie wrote And Then There Were None is this going to be the fate of the guests?
The storm is raging and sets the backdrop for the entire novel giving the reader the impression that more dire events were at hand. First, Loomis, then the Lexus with the missing passengers, the person in the back nowhere in sight, then Constance is poisoned and in a coma at the hotel, Mark Mulroy her son is killed, the bride and groom as still unaccounted for and then the father of the bride is killed. Each one killed in a different fashion and Jessica and Seamus the manager and part owner aka Constable are on their own to catch the killer who is in plain sight. Added in a couple that no one really knows, Ian and Faye claiming to be the best man and maid of honor, are acting oddly and only want to escape from the hotel and whether the storm while the sheriff hopes to get to Hill House in a snowmobile but will he make it before someone else is killed and will Jessica survive? Seamus is a great character and we have an odd addition to the hotel staff, Eugene who seems to fit the description of someone that was hiding out in the old Cabot Cove Machinery Warehouse and described the killer of the P.I. as Bigfoot. Added in Harry McGraw provides interesting information that will shock Jessica and hopefully send her in the right direction but where are the bride and groom?
The storm rages on and an elusive killer is moving around Hill House unnoticed but how. Authors Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land take us deeper inside the level of snow as people get enveloped under the huge amounts before it stops but 8 guests are left and 4 are gone who’s next?
As the lights go out and the heat is gone can Jessica and Seamus create a plan to save the rest of the wedding guests? As each guest is killed a number on the clock marks the murder and then the truth is shocking and revealed. It stems from the money Heath Mulroy swindled and the fact Constance had a suitcase filled with money to give to Doyle so how did his girlfriend’s nail polish get on it? Things turn dangerous but someone at the hotel is not who they think. Frozen , disoriented and facing a killer Jessica might be the next victim but will the icy path with the sign stating no skating on ice, prove to be her demise?
A chilly ending, a plot so well-conceived and planned out that it took years to devise and just who was behind it you won’t believe and why ? Pure greed and self-justification. Author Jon Land brilliantly uses the storm as a veil of white and darkness blocking reader’s views with the mountains of ice, wind and snow until the flakes subside and we find out if anyone lives or will there be The Murder If Twelve. Strong characters and each guest not very likable as Jessica prove that she might need to get her Private Investigator’s license or run for office.
Fran Lewis just reviews