J. S. Borthwick, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $24.95 (374p) ISBN 978-0-312-32494-0

In Borthwick's appealing 12th outing to feature English professor and amateur sleuth Sarah Deane (after 2002's Murder in the Rough ), Sarah's 74-year-old cantankerous aunt, Julia Clancy, proprietor of the High Hope horse farm, suffers a heart attack and has to have open heart surgery at the hospital in nearby Bowmouth, Maine. If that weren't enough, the recovering Julia's the last person to see a patient alive before he's found strangled in the lavatory, and then a shadowy figure in hospital garb slips into her room and tries to strangle her. Some believe the attack is merely Julia's post-operative delusion, but Sarah is convinced that her aunt is telling the truth and agrees to do some research. When another patient is murdered, even the police no longer doubt Aunt Julia's claim. The many suspects—doctors, nurses and volunteers, all of whom have access to the patients and dress pretty much alike—complicate Sarah's task. Like brewing a proper pot of tea, Borthwick takes her time putting the puzzle together, developing each character and unraveling their motives and relationships. The dramatic conclusion adds some spice, as does a dose of horse lore. Cozy fans who relish a nice cup of tea and a good book to go with it will be completely satisfied. (Feb. 9)

Reviewed on: 01/05/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-312-99552-2
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