cover image Dead in the Water: A Mattie Winston Mystery

Dead in the Water: A Mattie Winston Mystery

Annelise Ryan. Kensington, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0665-2

Ryan’s delightful eighth Mattie Winston mystery (after 2016’s Stiff Competition) opens with the Sorenson, Wis., medical examiner testifying at the murder trial of Tomas Wyzinski. It seems like an open-and-shut case, since Mattie found Tomas’s girlfriend’s head in his refrigerator. Soon after, Mattie investigates the death of Carolyn Abernathy, a young woman who apparently died of natural causes. Neither case is on Mattie’s mind when the bodies of her colleague Hal Dawson and his girlfriend, Tina Carson, turn up in the local lake. Pieces begin to fit together to create an unexpected picture—all four deaths are related. In Mattie, whose exhausting and often hilarious life includes her detective fiancé, teenage stepdaughter, sick friend, upcoming wedding, and energetic two-year-old, Ryan has created an appealing and oh-so-human protagonist. Anyone who has ever raised a child, had a relationship, or juggled a job and a complicated personal life will relate. Agent: Adam Chromy, Artists and Artisans. (Mar.)