Sheldon, Jean. She Overheard Murder. [A Nic & Nora Mystery, book #1]. Bast Press, 2013. $14.95. 276 p. SC. 978-0-9838136-2-0.
Nic Owen makes her debut as a character in a radio drama immediately before the discovery that her predecessor has been murdered, and she becomes a suspect along with all her cast mates. Carolyn’s husband wants to know who murdered her, as does Carolyn’s longtime “friend,” Nora. Will Nic be able to discover who murdered Carolyn and clear her good name?
This novel fits perfectly within the mystery/detective genre that includes LGBT characters and an historical setting. The thorough detail of the 1940s setting covers available technology, characters’ clothing, and the unequal treatment of women–a perfect fit for readers who enjoy period mysteries.
The characters in this story are well-rounded, realistic, and relatable. Each one is given sufficient detail to make him/her seem real, but not so much as to detract from the overall mystery story. The plot moves rapidly, and the various twists and turns before the final reveal are entertaining and keep the reader guessing as to who actually murdered Carolyn. The gritty, compelling writing style will carry readers through the end of the story.
This book would be an excellent beach or weekend read, and readers who have finished a favorite series and are waiting for the next book would enjoy picking this one. A recommended purchase for public libraries, particularly those whose patrons enjoy mystery series.
Reviewer: Jenni Frencham, Librarian
Cesar Chavez Middle School, Hayward (CA)