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Friday, April 22, 2016


4 stars out of 5

Is "feel-good murder mystery" a book category? If it is, I nominate this one for inclusion. It's a relatively quick read, with a stress-free and for the most part predictable plot. It's also easy to put down when need be - perfect for on the beach when you need to keep one eye on the munchkins or an unexpectedly long wait in the doctor's office.

Delaney Wright is a TV journalist covering the high-profile murder trial of Betsy Grant, who's accused of killing her wealthy doctor husband (who, coincidentally, shares my March 21 birthday). Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's eight years ago, Betsy opted to care for him at home. That burden simply became too great, the prosecution argues, especially given the substantial financial windfall she stands to gain if her husband were to die. But did she do it? After all, there's also Betsy's ne'er-do-well stepson, Alan, who has millions of reasons to want his stepmother to be found guilty - as well as two disgruntled colleagues whose medical practice with Betsy's husband bit the dust when his Alzheimer's got progressively worse.

For no reason in particular, Delaney is convinced that Betsy is innocent. Meanwhile, she's chasing demons of her own past: Adopted as a newborn, Delaney is almost desperate to find her birth mother. Add two of her friends who won the lottery and thus are willing and able to track down the mother and a potential love interest who's trying to find out who sold the drugs to a wealthy young man that caused his death and you've got no shortage of sub-plots (and characters) to keep straight.

Everything gets tidied up nicely by the end, though, when I found myself channeling Dana Carvey's SNL Church Lady character, thinking, "Well, isn't that special." There's nothing mind-bending here and at no time will your fingernails be in any danger, but if you like your murders on the lighter side - and every once in a while I do - it's ideal.

As Time Goes By by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster, April 2016); 278 pp.

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