A Missing Pieces Mystery

By Joyce and Jim Laverne

Berkley Prime Crime, 2013 ($7.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-425-25231-4

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Dae O'Donnell, mayor of Duck, North Carolina, goes missing for a few days, returning dirty, tired, hungry and possessed. She doesn't mention that last part, and her worried friends and family are just glad she's returned unharmed. Three ladies with psychic abilities are not fooled, however. They sense another presence behind Dae's eyes, and they are correct. That presence is clever and cunning, and manages to avoid their various plans to call her out.

Maggie Madison, a seventeenth century barmaid, appeared to Dae when she touched an antique necklace that had belonged to her. Dae has special abilities of her own, especially in finding lost things. Maggie has enlisted Dae's help to locate her missing bones and reunite them with her lover's body. Maggie, who was called a witch back in the day, tells Dae she just wants to have a little fun before she returns to the land of the dead, and her sense of fun makes for some awkward scenes with young men who take Maggie's fancy.

While not revealing the source of her information, Dae tells her grandfather and boyfriend, a retired FBI agent, that she is looking for the bones as part of a historical project. They help her in a clandestine search that gets them in hot water and reveals a much more recent mystery. The body of a man missing for forty years is unearthed in a very unusual container.

Dae and her posse help to solve the modern day crime, unfortunately having to step on some sensitive toes in the process. She continues her work on Maggie's behalf, prodded along none too gently by the lady herself. Oh yes, she is also running for mayor against one of the suspects in the murder case, and she has an unwanted benefactor funding some inappropriate political ads and otherwise complicating her life.

This is the fifth in the Missing Pieces mystery series, and it is as charming, humorous and entertaining as the previous books. Duck is a colorful little town with wonderful inhabitants, both living and dead. The Lavernes also write the Peggy Lee Garden Mystery series and the Renaissance Faire Mystery series.

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