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Star Spangled Murder    by Leslie Meier order for
Star Spangled Murder
by Leslie Meier
Order:  USA  Can
Kensington, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Lucy Stone of Tinker's Cove, Maine, works for the local newspaper as a reporter. When she herself becomes the suspect in the murder of her neighbor and her photograph is on the front page of her paper, Lucy decides that if the police can't solve the crime, she will have to do it.

There is a cove full of suspects. Local lobstermen are sure their traps are being plundered. Lucy's son is indicted for assault on the murdered woman's son. Her dog has taken a liking to the neighbor's prize-winning chickens and harsh words have been exchanged. The woman's son is not a very likable character and has had words with his mother. The victim's husband is a pantywaist who might have snapped under the rule of his perfectionist wife. Just pick a name.

Author Leslie Meier is working her way through holiday murders. I seem to be reading them out of order, but that doesn't diminish the delight of rejoining the citizens of Tinker's Cove. Her series provides many hours of humorous and suspenseful reading.

The killing in Star-Spangled Murder is not the only problem confronting the town fathers. A tree-hugging group wants the annual fireworks display canceled because it would endanger a lichen on the nation's endangered list. The town's veterans are incensed and demand their fireworks display. The 4th of July parade is canceled. More outraged outcries.

The lobstermen who count on the lobsters to make their living decide to take the poaching problem into their own hands. Add to this the commotion caused by a group of naturists who commandeer a local pond. Prudity raised its indignant head. How Meier brings all this to a satisfying conclusion is nothing short of miraculous. But I wouldn't expect anything else from this talented writer.

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