Jenny Cain lives in Port Frederick, Mass. She's the director of a small civic foundation which primarily serves Port Frederick and the immediate surrounding area. Since neither the town nor the foundation are very large, Jenny has lots of time to pursue other matters when the whim strikes. Jenny is a populist, and believes that organizations such as the foundation she heads should strive to do good in all feasible ways. On the other hand she's pretty hard headed and can spot a scam a mile off. One of her main pleasures in life is pricking the self-important ego-balloons of the pompous and the self-righteous. She's pretty good at it.
In DEAD CRAZY Jenny is moving the foundation toward supporting the establishment of a recreational center for former mental patients. Of course, NIMBY kicks in. (Not in My Backyard). One thing leads to another and in spite of numerous protestations to the effect that none of "these people" would harm a fly, an ex-patient is found slashed to death in the recreational center-to-be. All the evidence points to another ex mental patient. Usually you'd expect the local police to handle things, but since the foundation is involved and because Jenny herself is involved with Geoffrey Bush, ranking member of the local constabulary, and because she's now sold on the idea of supporting the center, well. . .
This mystery novel puts forward author Pickard's authoritative blend of characteristics for her protagonist. She surrounds Jenny with interesting, intriguing characters in a fresh setting. Then she carries the reader forward in a kind of jaunty, straightforward way to a logical, satisfying conclusion. What more could a reader ask?