Dead Man Running Hardcover – Apr 18 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of MacPherson's middling ninth cozy to feature genealogist Torie O'Shea (after 2005's Thicker than Water), the small town of New Kassel, Mo., is in a heated mayoral election. Torie has a vested interest in the outcome: she loathes the incumbent, Bill Castlereagh, and the other candidate happens to be her stepfather, Colin Brooke. When a reporter for the local paper asks Torie to pull together the family trees of the two candidates, Torie finds some irregularities in Castlereagh's. Then Castlereagh disappears, some concrete mix is stolen from a construction site, a parade comes to a violent end, and a stranger who may have Mafia ties shows up at the Murdoch Inn. Meanwhile, the whole town is gossiping about Torie's marriage. Unfortunately, Torie is more often annoying than amiable, and only longtime fans are likely to feel they have much stake in her conjugal woes, the outcome of the election or the predictable explanation for the oddities plaguing New Kassel. (Apr.)
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From the Inside Flap
Torie O’Shea has her hands full. Aside from her new duties as president of the Historical Society in New Kassel, Missouri, and her interest in genealogy, she’s having a new house built, coordinating the town’s Oktoberfest, and coping with her teenage daughter, who’s beginning to date. Then at the request of a local journalist, Torie takes on an assignment to research the families of her hometown’s two mayoral candidates: incumbent Bill Castlereagh and his challenger, Sheriff Colin Brooke, who happens to be Torie’s step-father.
Before she can get anywhere on the politicians’ genealogies, though, a body turns up and spoils the Oktoberfest parade. Sheriff Brooke discovers some disturbing information about the dead man. Meanwhile, Torie’s research into Castlereagh’s genealogy is turning up more questions than answers. As the case unravels, the mayor flees town and Torie is left with a shocking discovery that might lead to her own demise.
Once again, Rett MacPherson’s charming characters and twisting plot keep the town of New Kassel—and the reader—on edge, making Dead Man Running a delightful addition to the Torie O’Shea series.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One thing that wasn't addressed before, and is not in this book either: Colin lives in Wisteria and runs for New Kassel mayor!? Even *if* there were no actual residency requirement for that position, you'd think it'd be a huge issue nonetheless. I would really like to know whether other readers noticed this issue, and if so, did it bother you, too - or were you able to work around it to get through the story?
Torie is her busy self in this story and continues to have her fingers in just about ever in her small home town on the river. To be quite frank, her business and busybody ways reach almost a manic state in this one; between family, town projects, building a new house, running the village museum, dealing with children and pets, and of course her genealogy projects. Torie is asked to research the family background of the two men running for mayor. The first is her old enemy and neighbor, the current mayor, who hates Torie and hates her chickens. The second is her father-in-law, Sheriff Brooke, whose relationship with Torie is shaky, at best, at times. Colin has decided to hang his badge up and become major.
While digging into the current mayor's past, Bill Castlereagh, she finds some disturbing facts...or are they facts? The more Mrs. O'Shea digs, the more the mystery deepens.
Three areas that I found to be a bit different in this one are that there was a bit more violence than is the norm for MacPherson's books. This is not extreme violence, to be sure, but violence never-the-less. I also detected a slight change in Torie's behavior. She has always been rather aggressive, but now I see signs of her using her money and position in the town to sort of push her weight around. Thirdly, there is a bit of marital strife, to the extent we have not seen before. Again, nothing big, but it is still there, like it or not.
Overall the book is well written, is a good story and a joy to read. Most of the old characters are still there and there are a few new ones thrown in for good measure. If you want a nice and relaxing read, then this is one you certainly should consider. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
She soon finds some interesting oddities in Castlereagh's past that do not add up. Before she can dig deeper, the mayor and his wife vanish. At about the same time a Mafioso from Chicago takes a room at the Murdoch Inn while bikers fire shots at people taking a hayride. Refusing to allow the Mafia to force her off her investigation especially since she has found ties between the gang and the missing mayor and upset with her husband who seems to want her also off the case, Torie keeps probing the past and the present while her marriage appears heading towards incineration.
As always Torie drives the men including the newcomers (and some women) in New Kassel crazy with her escapades. The story line is interesting as the heroine's marital troubles take a back seat to her need to learn what is happening in her small town though Torie is more comfortable digging into the past then the present. She remains an amusing fascinating protagonist able to carry the fun tale, but most readers will have figured out the solution to the mystery early on.