This is an absorbing, elegant mystery novel set in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the spring of 1979. The main character is Rebecca Temple, a thirty-ish medical doctor, recently widowed and feeling guilty that she did not recognize the symptoms of her late husband's disease early enough to save him.
Rebecca, a dedicated professional, makes a house call to find out why a distraught, elderly patient has missed a regular appointment for psychotherapy. She discovers that the nice, well-groomed, but paranoid senior has been murdered.
Was Rebecca's diagnosis wrong? Was her patient really being followed all this time by someone from her past who wanted to kill her? So Mrs. Kochinsky had claimed over and over again!
Now Rebecca feels she has failed her patient as well as her husband. Thus, when the police dismiss the case as a random, botched robbery, Rebecca decides that she herself must investigate. Her journey to the truth takes her to painful pasts in Argentina and Poland--pasts still present in North America. It also allows her to meet Nesha, an appealing but emotionally-damaged, forty-ish stranger from San Francisco.
Nesha also wants to know what really happened to Mrs. Kochinsky--urgently! Rebecca is drawn to him. Can he help her solve the mystery? Can she heal him? Can he heal her?
To Die in Spring is not only a carefully-crafted suspense thriller but also a fascinating lesson. Without being ponderous or didactic, the author teaches about World War II, Jewish culture, fine art, modern Toronto, and the long-term effects of war on women and children.
Above all, however, this is a good story. It has a terrific plot, loveable characters, gentle humour, precise details, and graceful style. Highly recommended!