Mary Daheim is back with Silver Scream, yet another Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery complete with
murdered bodies, and to solve it all is the intrepid Judith McMonigle Flynn,
the owner of 'Hillside Manor', the B&B that is such a hotbed of intrigue and
menace. To help her solve the mystery is a plethora of assistants who
include her husband Joe (an ex-policeman and currently a P.I.), her
trash-talking, highly excitable cousin Renie and her husband Bill (a
psychologist), and their nosy neighbor Arlene.
On Halloween weekend, Judith has to turn away ordinary customers to make
space for a Hollywood group, which comes to their town for a premiere. Along
with the glamour, the limos, the snooty behavior, the tantrums, the
demanding and selfish guests also bring a wave of danger into their midst.
Bruno Zepf, director extraordinaire, has a long-held superstition of staying
in a B&B prior to the premiere of a new movie of his. Eager to partake of
his good luck, other members of his company also decide to camp out at Hillside
Manor. After the premiere proves to be the biggest and costliest flop ever,
Judith walks into her kitchen and gets the shock of her life when she discovers
the famous director dead, his head buried in the standing water of her
clogged-up sink! Afraid that she might be sued for millions over a case of
negligence and thus lose her beloved B&B, Judith, with her family's help,
frantically investigates the case in the hopes of proving it to be otherwise. Is
it a murder or a suicide? Is the cause of Bruno's death a ghostly cupboard door
or the director's horror of spiders?
Everyone associated with Bruno is a suspect and comes under the close
scrutiny of Judith and her helpers. The petty movie people -- with their gigantic
egos, little compassion and perennial bickering -- all have motives for
killing the director. But then the body count starts increasing and Judith
goes into a panic. Who is the culprit (or should that be culprits)? The
fog-shrouded rainy atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest, combined with
the unnatural and ghostly Halloween ambience, supply a sinister and haunted
gothic setting for this murder mystery, as do the weirdly dressed up
trick-or-treaters. In the midst of it all, logical Judith has to cope with an
irascible handyman, fractious exes and relatives, meddlesome neighbors
and an incorrigible and demanding mother.
Silver Scream is really interesting, funny and filled to the brim with murder and mayhem. Daheim
keeps you guessing until the very end. The snappy dialogue between the two cousins, the logical workings of their
brains, the tough mystery and the wonderfully descriptive atmosphere all go
towards making this latest B&B mystery a stupendous success.
© 2002 by
Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book