Judith Ivie has had a twenty-five plus career writing and editing. As a Connecticut native, she sets her latest Kate Lawrence mystery in Hartford and Wethersfield. She has an eager audience on the East Coast. A SKELETON IN THE CLOSET is her third Kate Lawrence mystery, and she has published three non-fiction books.
Kate Lawrence is undergoing several lifestyle changes at once: her long-time love, Armando, is moving in with her; her daughter is stretching her wings and has a new boyfriend; and her son is incommunicado with new exploits. To add to this, a telephone call from a couple of elderly spinsters who live in a grand old historic mansion reveals an actual skeleton in a closet that has been bricked up for forty some years. Kate is in the real estate business with a couple of lively women partners, and they rush over to be of assistance to the confused little old ladies. But by the time Kate rushes to their aid, the body has disappeared:
"A pile of old bricks, mortar, splintered wood and other debris attested to the recent demolition of a narrow section of wall at the back of a closet next to a huge, ancient furnace. The new opening revealed a narrow space. John's flashlight shone on the pipes leading to the ancient boiler, one of which was leaking visibly. On the floor at the rear of the closet next to the pipes lay something that looked like a rag along with more bits of mortar and brick. I thought the cloth was dark blue, but I couldn't be certain. Except for some shelving filled with books and files along the back wall of the closet-like space, it was empty. I blinked and looked again. No body, no bones, nothing."
A SKELETON IN THE CLOSET is a delightful cozy mystery, New England style. One can almost imagine Kate Lawrence as a younger version of Jessica Fletcher. Her fiery romance with the elegant Armando contributes romance, and her friends and fellow realtors provide glamour and humor. Kate is undergoing a midlife crisis of sorts, which actually grounds her and provides the reader with a glimpse of a middle-aged adventurer. The police appear at appropriate intervals, and life issues pop up to make this a densely packed little read that is both light and entertaining.