cover image Murder in Miniature

Murder in Miniature

Margaret Grace, . . Berkley Prime Crime, $6.99 (242pp) ISBN 978-0-425-21980-5

Having lost her husband to cancer, good-natured Geraldine “Gerry” Porter, 58, endures being the chair of the Lincoln Point, Calif., dollhouse committee. Her prickly perfectionist friend, Linda Reed, makes tiny houses that are unassailably historically accurate, but Linda’s delinquent adopted teenage son, Jason, and two troublesome ex-husbands have her real house out of order. When Linda disappears from the annual miniatures fair only to turn up in the middle of the night stranded and disheveled off a highway access road—the same site where the dead body of an unknown woman is subsequently found—Gerry, with the help of her visiting 10-year-old tomboy granddaughter Maddie, begin to second-guess Linda’s odd behavior. They rely on the quirky expertise of Gerry’s roll-with-the-punches bachelor nephew, Skip, a local cop who’s thrilled to get his first homicide call. Further roiling Lincoln Point tempers are a recent robbery at Crane’s Jewelry Store pointing to Jason’s handiwork and the angry factions battling over an upcoming election hinging on proposed development. Gerry proves a resilient, enterprising detective and Maddie a delightful sidekick in this tightly honed mystery, where smalltown personalities get a gentle poke. (Feb.)