cover image Pride v. Prejudice: A Claire Malloy Mystery

Pride v. Prejudice: A Claire Malloy Mystery

Joan Hess. Minotaur, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-01195-4

Agatha-finalist Hess smoothly blends humor and detecting in her 20th Claire Malloy mystery (after 2013’s Murder as a Second Language). When belligerent prosecutor Edwin Wessell dismisses Claire from jury duty, the unfairness of it all drives her to investigate defendant Sarah Swift’s alleged murder of her highly unpleasant husband, John Cunningham. Overwhelmed public defender Evan Toffle welcomes her snooping, and even Claire’s new husband, Deputy Chief Peter Rosen of the Farberville, Ark., police department, is willing to help. Others are not so cooperative, and Claire encounters one dead end after another. Meanwhile, her high school–age daughter, Caron, and Caron’s sidekick, Inez Thornton, are on the trail of the ugly wedding gift that Peter’s mother gave Peter and Claire. The gift must be found before a just-announced visit from Peter’s mother—which may be the worst family crisis Claire has ever had. Spending time with Claire and the other citizens of Farberville is always a treat. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (Apr.)