cover image Mail-Order Murder

Mail-Order Murder

Leslie Meier. Viking Books, $18.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84111-0

Although its language is frequently sophomoric, this debut mystery introducing sleuth Lucy Stone does feature some nice plot twists. At the height of the Christmas season, Stone, an employee of Maine mail-order house Country Cousins, finds her wealthy boss, Sam Miller III, dead inside his car in the company parking lot. The police quickly determine that the popular Miller was murdered. His beautiful wife is initially a suspect, but she had neither motive nor opportunity. When two other suspects are also cleared, Stone convinces officer Barney Culpepper to help her spring a trap to flush out the killer. Soon after, she discovers a genuine suicide and Culpepper suffers a near-fatal traffic accident. Stone concludes that the two events are related to the Miller slaying and executes a plan to catch the murderer in another homicide attempt. Neither particularly readable nor particularly plausible, the novel deserves some credit for an interesting cast of characters. (Dec. )