In the Mood for Murder
The author of The Victory Dance Murder continues her series on the exploits of amateur detective Kate Fallon with a murder mystery set in a small city outside of Philadelphia during World War II. Fallon, a worker in a factory devoted to war work, is a member of a local women’s group called the Molly Pitcher Society. The women begin to get threatening letters and the hate mail is shortly followed by murder. Baffled by the crimes, the local police chief calls in the indomitable Fallon. In her best Miss Marple manner, the young Fallon probes into the backgrounds of each of her friends to find a thread which will lead to the murderer. As she moves along, the town and its citizens become increasingly caught up in the tension and uncertainty.
While the storyline is reasonably interesting and the setting of a town besieged from without by the ever present threat of war and from within by the immediate menace of a murderer is inspired, the author consistently fails to supply the suspense necessary to sustain a murder mystery. Rather than entertain, the story simply plods along from one scene to the next. Historical errors also intrude: the 8th Army was a British force, not an American one, General Eisenhower was stationed in the UK after the Allied landings in North Africa, not before, etc. A disappointing work.