Carolyn Petersen, Assistant Program Manager, Library Development, Tumwater, WA.
Mary Miley’s Impersonator deserved to win the Minotaur Books/Mystery writers’ of America First Crime Novel competition. The murder mystery begins with the heroine of the book, vaudevillian Leah Randall approached by a man who greets her as his long lost niece, heiress to a timber fortune. Beckett invites her to impersonate his niece and split the fortune due when the absent Jessie Carr turns 21. Circumstances force Leah to accept Beckett’s offer. After being tutored in the family history, Leah journeys to the Oregon coast to meet the family and begin her impersonation. A murdered woman’s body is discovered by the side of the road as Leah drives in the from the railroad station to the family mansion. This is the first of several and Leah realizes that if she doesn’t uncover the serial murderer, she may well fall victim to him.
Descriptions of vaudeville, the life in a privileged family, and the vivid characterizations of life in a small Oregon coastal town as well as life in Portland in the 1920’s were accurate and fascinating. I’m hoping that this is the beginning of a murder series featuring the resourceful and independent Leah Randall