Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pg. 69: Mary Daheim's "Vi Agra Falls"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Vi Agra Falls by Mary Daheim.

About the book, from the publisher:
Tucked away in a cozy cul-de-sac on Heraldsgate Hill, Judith McMonigle Flynn hopes for smooth sailing in her longtime role as an innkeeper. But Judith's skill in dealing with guests is matched only by her knack for coming across corpses.

Mystery lovers who enjoy madcap mayhem will have no reservations about returning to Hillside Manor in the twenty-fourth Bed-and-Breakfast book from USA Today bestselling author Mary Daheim.

Judith's worst nightmare comes true when Vivian Flynn—husband Joe's first wife—moves back into the neighborhood, bringing along her newest spouse, Billy "Blunder" Buss, a former minor-league baseball player who is many years younger than his shop-worn bride. Still, the B&B business is going well and the newlyweds don't seem to be causing problems for the Flynns. That seemingly calm summer idyll is broken when Vivian, who has become mysteriously wealthy, announces plans to tear down her own house and the recently vacated bungalow next door so she can build a big, bad condo. Judith, along with the rest of the neighbors in the cul-de-sac, is up in arms, vowing to fight the project to the death.

Vivian's past catches up with her when Frankie Buss comes to town. Billy and Frankie's late father, elderly Oklahoma rancher Potsy Buss, was married to Vivian for nine months before dying and bequeathing her his vast wealth. Frankie Buss intends to stir the pot of gold that Potsy left his widow, and he's trying to cut a deal with Vivian and her most recent mate, Billy. Naturally, where else would Frankie and his wife, Marva Lou, stay but at Hillside Manor?

And naturally, somebody checks out ... permanently. The "somebody" isn't a Buss family member, and turns out to be a "nobody" because the body can't be identified. To save the B&B as well as her sanity, Judith must figure out not only who did it, but who it was who was found dead in Vivian's backyard.
Among the early praise for the novel:
"Cozy buffs who've yet to encounter Daheim's popular Pacific Northwest series will find this entertaining 24th installment (after 2007's Scots on the Rocks) an easy entry point. Judith McMonigle Flynn, who operates a bed-and-breakfast in the Seattle neighborhood of Heraldsgate Hill, has recently remarried her ex-husband, Joe Flynn. Her complicated personal life becomes even more so after the arrival of Joe's ex-wife, Vivian, with her trophy husband in tow. Vivian soon sends ripples through Heraldsgate Hill when she announces plans to build a huge condominium in the community. When the body of an unidentified man is found hanging from a tree behind Vivian's house, Judith reluctantly resumes her familiar role as amateur sleuth. Longtime fans will smile at cousin Renie's exasperation with the prevaricating Judith ("These lengthy preludes to your adventures drive me nuts"). Endearingly eccentric characters are a plus."
--Publishers Weekly

"Mary Daheim ... adds to her very funny "Bed-and-breakfast" series of cozy mysteries with "Vi Agra Falls" .... B&B owner Judith McMonagle Flynn has to deal with a number of issues: unwelcome family, threats of condominiums wrecking her neighborhood's charm, and, oh yeah, dead bodies."
--Adam Woog, Seattle Times
Browse inside Vi Agra Falls, and learn more about the book and author at Mary Daheim's website. Daheim has been an Agatha Award nominee, winner of the 2000 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Achievement Award, and her mysteries regularly make the USA Today bestseller list and the New York Times top thirty.

Mary Daheim's many books include twenty novels in her Emma Lord series and twenty-four titles in her Bed-and-Breakfast series.

The Page 69 Test: Vi Agra Falls.

--Marshal Zeringue