This 10th entry in the usually reliable Lois Meade series is hampered by some plotting issues as Purser spends more time on local color than on laying clues for her readers to follow. The result is a book that provides an in-depth look at a village community filled with colorful characters pulling together, but whose mystery plot meanders and whose narrative gets a bit repetitive after a while. Readers who value character over plot will likely enjoy this a lot, but those who like to sleuth along may find themselves frustrated by the slow development of the mystery.

The village of Long Farnden is on a mission to raise the necessary cash to restore its aging village hall. As the locals work out the fundraising logistics, a village newcomer has reason to hope the project fails while another is concerned that her estranged husband could be trouble. It’s up to Lois Meade, owner of a cleaning business, to find the connections and ensure that the village hall project doesn’t go up in flames. (PRIME CRIME, Dec., 352 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Donna M. Carter