When a female body is posed at the far end of a youth soccer field, no one seems to notice. No one, that is, except Rhe Brewster, an emergency room nurse with an eye for detail and a knack for putting her nose where it doesn’t belong.
Death in a Red Canvas Chair is Noelle Granger’s debut mystery novel, the first in a series about Rhe Brewster and her adventures as an amateur detective. It’s set in the fictional town of Pequod, Maine and offers a nice backdrop of New England coastal living. I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but I do know that all mysteries follow a certain framework, and Death in a Red Canvas Chair is true to this format. Granger presents an intriguing crime, introduces some shady characters, some good guys and muddles it up with some characters you’re not too sure about.
It’s a well-organized, light and entertaining plot-driven read that invites you to solve the crime before you reach the final pages. It’s not too gory or too violent, but there’s enough action and suspense and a few rough moments to keep the story moving. And there are a couple of red herrings to mix things up a little. The author also adds a running list of what Rhe and her colleagues eat, and frequent references to coffee suggest that this mystery will be solved with a great deal of caffeine.
The author’s PhD in anatomy certainly shows, which comes in handy with the medical lingo and, being a sailor myself, I appreciated accuracy of the boat scenes. She offers some character quirkiness as well, mixed in with humor and that helps flesh out the characters and make it an enjoyable read. Marital and family conflicts also add dimension to Granger’s characters.
Death in a Red Canvas Chair is polished and tight and it’s easy to imagine Rhe Brewster becoming mired in a lot more mysteries!
Also by N.A. Granger: Death in a Dacron Sail
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