In her ninth Wendy Hornby’s Maggie MacGowen mystery, we find Maggie, two weeks before her planned trip to France to make a film, back to her childhood home in Berkeley, California, to clear out the family house, as her mother has moved into a smaller place (her father, a physicist, having died a while back). In the course of which her instincts, the fact that she “plays” at being an investigator on her popular TV series and, perhaps, the fact that her late husband was a homicide detective, lead to her uncovering things other than old family treasures. She finds inescapable the memories of a murder that occurred over 30 years ago, when the beautiful Vietnamese mother of a school friend was brutally raped and killed, when she and her friends were then ten and eleven years old. Her mother was a close friend of the murdered woman, as Maggie was with her son, Beto.
Maggie’s boyfriend at the time of the murder is now Detective Kevin Halloran, who is not crazy about the fact that she is asking questions of people she suspects are hiding secrets. Maggie is very skittish about secrets: It was not long ago that she discovered that her biological mother was a woman with whom her father had had an affair long ago in France. The film she is about to make is about that woman’s family and their farm in Normandy. Her daughter, Casey, has just finished her sophomore year in college, and Maggie is traveling with her current boyfriend, the French consul general to Los Angeles and a widower with a son about Casey’s age. The ensuing investigation is fraught with danger; as Maggie’s uncle tells her, “Always an adventure with you, kid. Always an adventure.” The author has blended a great cast of characters and an intriguing mystery, and the book is recommended....Continua