Following Susan Cox’s Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel award-winning debut, The Man in the Microwave Oven is her next delightfully quirky mystery featuring San Francisco transplant Theo Bogart.
Fleeing from a murder and family tragedy in her native England, where she was the scandal du jour for the tabloid press, Theo Bogart changed her name and built an undercover life in a close-knit San Francisco neighborhood. She didn’t expect to find love and friendship there, and now she doesn’t know how—or if—to reveal the truth.
After a confrontation with a difficult neighbor, Theo fears her secrets are about to be uncovered after all. When the woman who threatened to expose her is murdered, Theo is embroiled in the kind of jeopardy she crossed an ocean to escape. Worse yet, dangerous family secrets have followed her. Theo’s grandfather unveils a glimpse of the shadowy world he once inhabited as an agent for the British Secret Service, bringing an even bigger breed of trouble—and another death—to Theo’s doorstep. She finds herself fighting to protect herself, her family, and her new friends, aware that one of them might be a murderer.
Susan Cox has once again painted a delightfully quirky portrait of a colorful San Francisco neighborhood and a woman finding her way through exactly the kind of scandalous mystery she was trying to leave behind.
In Cox's madcap second mystery featuring British expat Theophania Bogart (after 2015's The Man on the Washing Machine), cutthroat attorney Katrina Dermody hints that she's aware Theo is living in San Francisco under an assumed name. Theo fears Katrina will divulge her secrets in retaliation for opposing Katrina's client's construction of a high-rise condo in their Fabian Gardens neighborhood. Before Theo can determine what Katrina knows about her scandalous past, however, someone murders the attorney. To further complicate matters, aging priest Sergei Wolf visits Theo's store, Aromas, with an urgent message for her grandfather, Clement Pryce-Fitton. Theo relays the information to Clement, who reveals that he's former British intelligence and advises Theo to be on alert, as Sergei's communiqu was a coded distress signal. Cox cleverly entwines the two seemingly unrelated story lines, upping the tale's stakes and body count. Endearingly eccentric characters and a vividly sketched setting help distract from the contrived setup and dubious denouement. Fans of Donna Andrews will appreciate Cox's zany style.