Mary Daheim has served up another Bed and Breakfast mystery featuring her lovable team of Judith McMonigle Flynn and her cousin Renie, "All the Pretty Hearses." (William Morrow Publisher, 278 pages, Aug. 9)
The mayhem starts when a stay at her Hillside Manor inn is auctioned off as part of the parish fund-raiser. The prize winners are an obnoxious family appropriately named Paine, and the troubles begin in earnest.
Judith must contend with an ailing guest, her crusty mother and a missing horse who was stabled in her garage. To top things off, her husband, Joe, is arrested on suspicion of committing murder.
The cousins uncover plenty of corruption down at City Hall, plenty of monkey business within the Paine family, and an unsavory criminal ring peddling horseflesh which was enough to make this reviewer stick with tofu.
Daheim leaves her reader with a madcap mystery that is both challenging and amusing.
For everyone who has ever dreaded family holidays, the author leaves her reader with these words of wisdom: "What else is Christmas for? Family, friend, friction."
Right on Miss Daheim.