The Affliction: A Novel by Beth Gutcheon (William Morrow, $16.99, 384 pages)
Maggie was sitting on the floor paging through a book on Bernard Berenson and Hope was deep in one of the desk drawers when a voice from the doorway said, “What the hell do you think you are doing?”
Prolific author Beth Gutcheon serves up her second Maggie Detweiler mystery in a decidedly Miss Marple/J.B, Fletcher tone. Of course, this being a mystery novel, someone is murdered. There are subplots of unrest among the students at a private girls’ school. Various members of the Rye-on-Hudson community where the school is located have been plotting their own schemes. The infusion of developer capital to the otherwise bucolic community energizes the action.
Maggie and her buddy Hope Bobbin insinuate themselves into the community after a call for assistance. Initially, Maggie arrives at leader of an Independent School Association accreditation evaluation team. The school, Rye Manor School for Girls, is facing the likely loss of its accreditation.
Ms. Gutcheon seamlessly brings her reader along on Maggie and Hope’s quest for the killer. Along the way the faculty, students and campus of the school fill in a privileged New England experience around the wonderful dialogue. There’s no lack of finger pointing and accusations to make solving the murder a challenging effort for the Detweiler and Bobbin team.
The Affliction is consistent with its predecessor, Death at Breakfast. Hopefully, Ms. Gutcheon will deliver more such engaging adventures for her readers.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. The trade paper version of The Affliction will be released on November 27, 2018.