The Alcatraz Rose joins others in the Lawrence Kingston mystery series (prior books not seen by this reviewer), and opens with an unusual move: a thirteen-year-old begs Lawrence Kingston to investigate her mother's disappearance eight years ago (which seems connected with her botany business) and the clues Lawrence unearths seem to lead to an extinct rose rediscovered growing on Alcatraz Island some 5,000 miles from its last known location.
And so the mystery surrounds not just murder, but history and botany - and that's one of the unexpected flavors that sets The Alcatraz Rose apart from your standard 'whodunnit' genre read.
Another surprise is its atmosphere; for fans of England will find the country's ambiance steeped into every page: thick, delicious, and milky like a good English tea. There are deliciously-described meals and clues unearthed over breakfast. There are clues hidden in books, tendrils of uncertain associations that lead to further mysteries, and an attention to building character and setting which lends to reader connections with protagonists and concern about their outcome.
And, after all, isn't this the ultimate purpose of a good mystery: to not just keep readers at arms-length with entertainment, but to immerse and involve them in the fiber and atmosphere of the adventure?
A rare rose, a child's plea, and a 'cold' case resurrected, all against the backdrop of England's culture and atmosphere - what's not to like?
The casual mystery will simply puzzle and entertain. The superior production will take the time to create a setting and protagonists that are compelling. Such is the nature of The Alcatraz Rose - and the reason why its twists and turns of plot stand apart from the ordinary genre approach....Continua