Dear Crossing by Marjorie Swift Doering
I picked this one up out of curiosity, and on reflection I have to say it wasn’t too bad. It’s a bit by-the-numbers in places (washed-up cop with a drink problem and a broken marriage), but manages to keep itself fresh with a storyline that includes more than a few twists along the way.
This book plays the multiple-converging-story-arcs game quite well, and for once I wasn’t able to figure out whodunnit in the first few chapters, though in fairness that’s probably because the actual culprit doesn’t get that much page time until about halfway through the book. Even more, the author manages to pile on enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing until quite late in the novel, to the point that the eventual list of possible suspects almost encompasses the entire supporting cast. That for me was possibly the best aspect of this twisty, convoluted murder-mystery, and is the main reason I’ve decided to keep going with the series.
About the only real criticism I have of this novel is that it could do with a bit of polishing. While it’s obvious the author has a talent for keeping the mystery alive, the characterisation could do with a little tightening up, and there are a few moments within the narrative where things seem to happen for no reason other than to shake the reader up. A little more time could have also been spent on copy-editing, though if I’m being honest I’ve seen trad-published books with more copy-edit errors than this one.
Those minor niggles aside, this is a good start to a series, and shows a lot of promise. I’d have no qualms about recommending this one to anyone who likes a good murder-mystery.