Title: Death Checks In
Series: A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery: Book Three
Author: David S. Pederson
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Length: 242 Pages
Category: Historical, Mystery
At a Glance: Though some may find the pacing slow, I think it fits with the era. David Pederson does a great job with this classic murder mystery set in 1947 and the attention to its details.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: All Detective Heath Barrington and his partner, Alan Keyes, want is to get away for a weekend of romance, but they find murder instead when a missing tie leads them to the body of the peculiar Victor Blount, and Heath can’t resist the urge to investigate. Who killed Blount, and why?
Clues turn up around every corner, but what do they mean? The bloody “W,” the green spool of thread grasped in the dead man’s hand, the newspaper left at the doorstep: they all lead down a strange and winding road of mystery and danger. As Heath and Alan work together to solve the case, they encounter various and eccentric suspects, old friends, and a hostile Chicago Detective, Marty Wilchinski, who doesn’t like Milwaukee police involved in a Chicago crime. Forced to act on their own, out of their jurisdiction, they race against time to find the killer before Wilchinski files the case closed.
Review: Detective Heath Barrington and Officer Alan Keyes of the Milwaukee PD have teamed up a few times to solve crimes, but they also have been secretly seeing each other. Too often when they’ve tried to get away to be alone, crime has come to stop them, but it’s Friday the 13th and things are actually going well, so far, so Heath, Alan, and Alan’s lucky rock are on their way to Chicago for some alone-time.
For their evenings out on the town, Heath takes Alan to a clothier for a tuxedo fitting where they meet the odd Mr. Victor Blount, which makes for some strange conversation. Along with the excitement of seeing the sights in Chicago comes meeting some new people, and Heath and Alan discover that all their new acquaintances have a dislike for Mr. Blount. When payback catches up to Mr. Blount, Heath can’t help but be obsessed, and Alan goes right along with him even if it isn’t in their jurisdiction. Heath and Alan have their hands full with some puzzling clues, and soon find themselves up against the obstinate Chicago Detective Wilchinszky. Are they going to have to let this case go without it being solved, or do they stick to their guns to solve it?
Heath and Alan have had their ups and downs in their ongoing relationship, but it seems the first two novels, Death Comes Darkly and Death Goes Overboard, focus more on Heath’s personal life along with the mystery, though there are a few tidbits in this third novel that are revealed about Alan. I’m hoping with the upcoming Death Takes a Bow we might get a more in-depth look into both characters. David Pederson does a great job with this classic murder mystery set in 1947 and the attention to its details: no cell phones, big cars, and the cost of items and services that are more than a quarter now. For some readers the pace of the story may be slow, but I think it fits with the era; crime was handled differently decades ago. The plot really focuses on how Heath and Alan gather clues and how well they play off each other. The author also gives us a tour of the many sights in Chicago, with some interesting facts and incidents that the author actually experienced (check out the Mystery History at the end).
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