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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mixed Signals, A Grace Street Mystery by Jane Tesh

Mixed Signals, A Grace Street Mystery by Jane Tesh
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (235 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Stephantois

It’s Christmas in Parkland, North Carolina, and PI David Randall is looking forward to his mother’s visit to 302 Grace Street, even though he knows she’ll want to talk about his daughter, Lindsey, who died in a car accident. Then he and his friend Camden find Camden’s friend Jared Hunter brutally stabbed. Cam has violent flashbacks to the crime, making him fear he’s linked with the killer. The suspects include Boyd Taylor, who hires Randall. Randall’s investigations reveal Jared served time for breaking into the Parkland Museum of History, and Bert Galvin, son of Ralph Galvin, editor of the Parkland Herald, was also involved.

Randall believes inept superhero, the Parkland Avenger, is a set up by award-hungry Herald reporter, Brooke Verner. The Super Hero Society of Parkland insists the Avenger isn’t one of them. To his dismay, Kary, wanting a more active role in his cases, joins the SHS.

Brooke tells Randall she saw a letter from Bert promising not to tell about the museum funds. By comparing museum records and newsletters, Randall discovers a collector of valuable letters was never paid the full amount and died in a car crash suspiciously soon after the sale. He realizes Galvin used the museum break in to cover up this embezzlement scheme.

A map found in Jared’s comic collection leads Randall and Cam to a series of tunnels underneath several stores that have been recently robbed. Kary, in her guise as Wonder Star, helps them trap Galvin in the tunnels and end Cam’s troubling visions.

This story dives right into the action because the murder takes place in the first few pages. While the main character, David Randall is a PI, Mixed Signals is actually also a cozy mystery too. It’s filled with some quirky characters and sometimes humorous dialogue.

What I enjoyed most about this story was the sense of community that the author portrayed. Ms. Tesh offers the reader an insight into this small town and how David Randall fits in. The character I liked most was his mother, who sometimes had some great lines.

This is the second in the Great Street mysteries and while I don’t think it’s necessary to read them in order, I should say that not having read the first one did leave me somewhat unclear about the reoccurring characters. I felt like I would have known David more had I been able to catch up on more of his background.

If you’re a mystery buff looking for a new series or enjoy crime in a small town setting then it’s worth checking out.

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