Release Date: Nov 26, 2019
Series: Murder She Wrote
Publisher: Penguin Group
Even Jessica Fletcher’s closest friends don’t know the real story about her first case. They assume the first murder Jessica investigated took place at a party celebrating the publication of her first novel. However, there was an earlier investigation in Appleton, Maine when Jessica’s husband Frank was still alive that was actually the first murder she solved. This isn’t a case Jessica likes thinking about, but an interview with a young woman followed by an invitation to a retirement party for a former Appleton colleague causes the memories from twenty-five years ago to come rushing back to Jessica. While Jessica struggles with those memories, a murder occurs. Since this crime may be tied to Jessica’s first case, she can’t help but get involved with this new investigation.
This book tells the story of a past murder investigation as well as a current case. The chapters alternate between the past and present, all from Jessica’s point of view. I enjoyed seeing a younger Jessica spending time with Frank and their nephew Grady and teaching before she was a published author. It was interesting watching each mystery unfold and seeing Jessica’s observations help solve them. Fans of the television series will enjoy the appearance by Amos Tupper both in the past and the present as much as I did.
Each murder investigation is suspenseful and full of surprises. I was way off on my theory about the killer and the motive for the original murder. I was able to guess part of the secret related to the present day murder, but I was still surprised when the whole story came out. This book is equally accessible to those who have watched the television show and those who haven’t. New readers who haven’t read any of the prior books can also enjoy this one and in fact may enjoy it more than returning fans. A Time for Murder is the fiftieth “Murder She Wrote” book. The last couple of books have been written by a new author so long-time readers are still adjusting to this “less cozy” version of Jessica. In the final scenes, she looks more like an action hero than an author and former schoolteacher. In addition, the gentle teasing between Jessica and her friends Seth and Mort has become very sarcastic and sometimes, especially with Mort, a little mean-spirited. However, in spite of that, I like this installment and am glad the series has continued. I still enjoy Jessica and the cases she solves.