Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Ellen Hart’s intimate storytelling returns in Twisted at the Root, where Hart’s latest mystery shows the importance of finding the truth.
Everyone thought Rashad May and Gideon Wise were happily married. That is, until Rashad was convicted of his husband’s murder.
Four years later, Rashad’s brother contacts Ray Lawless – Minnesota private investigator Jane Lawless’s father and the original defense attorney on the case – with potential evidence of a wrongful conviction. When the case is reopened, Jane and her father must work together to attain justice for a grieving widower.
Who actually killed Gideon and why? There are suspects and motives galore, and Jane must discover the truth. She must also track down her missing brother, Peter, who was involved in the original trial, and who might be hiding secrets of his own.
In MWA Grandmaster Hart's enjoyable 26th Jane Lawless mystery (after 2018's A Whisper of Bones), Minneapolis restaurateur and part-time PI Jane agrees to help her defense attorney father get a retrial for Rashad May, who was convicted of murdering his husband, Gideon Wise, after new evidence points to Rashad's innocence. Shaky timelines, some conflicting evidence, and an extensive pool of suspects complicate Jane's efforts. Unfortunately, one of those involved in the case is Jane's troubled documentary-filmmaker brother, who suddenly shows up. As Jane angers locals with her probing questions, her sidekick, theater maven Cordelia Thorn, does her own sleuthing. Together, they track leads, ponder red herrings, and find there's far more to Gideon's murder than meets the eye. Another death and an attempted murder raise the stakes. A few seasoned pros may figure out whodunit before the end, but this is a quibble. Distinctive characters and solid plotting underscore the strength of this long-running series.