Lucy Stone and her friends think it's a terrific idea to host a 90th birthday party for Julia Tilley, the town's oldest resident. In fact, the surprise party will be broadcast on TV! The party mood is dampened, however, when Sherman Cobb, Miss Tilley's attorney, apparently commits suicide. Cobb's partner can't believe he would do away with himself, so asks Lucy to look into it.

Lucy investigates, but nothing adds up, and she continues planning the party. Still, she's sure the attorney was murdered. Then Miss Tilley's long-lost niece and great-nephew arrive on the scene. Suddenly, Miss Tilley is no longer available to receive guests or get out and about. Lucy feels sure the newfound relatives are up to no good but can't find a way to prove it. With an equal emphasis on crime solving and day-to-day life, the Lucy Stone mysteries are among the best in domestic mysteries. Although lighthearted in tone, the story also takes a serious look at the plight of the elderly. (Aug., 272 pp., $22.00)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg