A small puddle in her basement leads Chris Bennett to discover a box of her late Aunt Meg's possessions. Chris finds two letters, one dealing with the death by exposure of a retarded youth some years earlier, the other concerning a wealthy businessman who committed suicide shortly after his 50th birthday. Naturally curious, Chris wants to find out more about the two deaths and why they mattered to her aunt.

Chris talks to the letter writers and people connected with the dead men and learns an amazing fact: although the men never knew each other, they were discovered wearing each other's sneakers. This is enough to get Chris's instincts going. She is sure that the deaths are connected and that neither suicide nor accident is involved. With a little help from her friends, she is able to put old wrongs to right.

Impeccable plotting, a poignant storyline, and a crime from the past are hallmarks of a Lee Harris story-and some of the reasons she won an RT Career Achievement Award-and once again she delivers the goods! THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY MURDERS will mystify as it moves you. (Feb., 256 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg