Bookshop owner and aspiring mystery writer Adrien English wakes up one morning to find the police on his doorstep. They’er there to tell him that his old high school friend and employee is dead, brutally murdered in fact. To make matters worse for the weak-hearted Adrien, it seems that he is the prime suspect, having argued with the man over dinner just before he was killed.
Even though he seems to be being stalked by the killer, Adrien fears that the police will make him a convenient scapegoat, so in true mystery novel fashion he sets about finding the murderer himself, which might even lead him to one of the detectives investigating the case. As he unravels the threads of his friend’s life, and his own, Adrien is left wondering if the death can really be blamed on something that happened in high school?
“Fatal Shadows” is a ‘nice’ little mystery. Adrien English is reminiscent of of a doddering Miss Marple, only he has different reasons for doddering than advanced age. While the story is set in contemporary Los Angeles, there’s still a genteelness to the language that is endearing. As in any good mystery, the culprit remains difficult to identify until close to the end. I did guess who it was, but not long before his identity was revealed in the book.
I’ve enjoyed the later books by this author, so I decided to delve into his back list for more, especially now that the digital versions have been re-released (in 2012). It doesn’t disappoint, with realistic characters, a good dose of humor and a plot that moves along at just the right pace. I’ll no doubt get around to reading the other four books in the Adrien English series, eventually.