PAINT BY MURDER

Author(s): 

An artist is murdered in the English village of Sitting Marsh in Kingsbury's latest cozy World War II mystery. Manor house owner Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton discovers her tenant, Basil Thorncroft, dead at his cottage. Fearing the local constable isn't up to investigating the murder, Elizabeth does her own sleuthing, with help from American friend Major Earl Monroe.

Learning that a German spy could be in the area, Elizabeth visits the new tenants of nearby pub and hostelry Tudor Arms. Business is booming thanks to fiery new barmaid Bridget, while birdwatcher Mr. Whitton remains aloof. Outsider Pete Weston is friendly as he courts hairdresser Marlene without revealing much about himself, and Douglas McNally gets some unwanted advice from Elizabeth when he discloses that the munitions company he represents wants to build a factory nearby.

Kingsbury lightens the mood with a comical look at the Housewives League, whose leader, Rita Crumm, tries to flush out the "spy." The evolving suspense and burgeoning romance between Elizabeth and Earl will leave readers eager for the next chapter. (Sep., 224 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick