As the Crow Flies: A P.J. Benson Mystery

Maris Soule, Five Star, $25.95 (290p) ISBN 978-1-59414-952-8
At the start of Soule's middling second cozy featuring Zenith, Mich., accountant P.J. Benson (after 2007's The Crows), elderly Ida Delaney tries to hand a battered briefcase to P.J. after a talk the CPA gives at the town library about avoiding scams. P.J. reluctantly takes the briefcase, which belongs to Ida's nephew, Donald, and contains incriminating lab reports, maps, and soil samples that Donald, the addled Ida fears, was using to blackmail people. Later, Donald shows up at P.J.'s home, assaults her, and takes the briefcase. Despite the warnings of her boyfriend, Det. Sgt. Wade Kingsley of the Kalamazoo Sheriff's Department, P.J. can't resist digging deeper into a case that soon leads to murder. Given the unrealistic way characters react to violence, some readers may find it hard to take the heroine's perils seriously. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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