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Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

Secret Admirer by Patricia MacDonald

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Children’s book author Laura Reed lives an idyllic life with her husband Jimmy in his childhood hometown of Cape Christian, New Jersey; that is, until, an intruder breaks into her house and murders Jimmy in his sleep. When it becomes evident that Laura is set to inherit half a million in life insurance, the police and town residents look at Jimmy’s wife as having enough motive to commit murder, although they do not have enough evidence to arrest her at this time.

While adjusting to widowhood and trying to shield her son from their town’s watchful eye, Ian Turner, a man from Laura’s past who she hasn’t seen since childhood, mysteriously appears in her life. Like Laura, Ian lost a spouse, only his was killed in an arson-related fire. Connected by their mutual grief, the much needed friendship blossoms to a romance in which Laura agrees to marry Ian. However, the marriage only adds fuel to the fire as another motive for Laura to kill Jimmy. In fact, the police start to investigate Ian’s wife’s death and question whether the two were in on it together.

Especially hurt by the abrupt marriage is Laura and Jimmy’s close friend, Gary, who has been wheelchair bound since high school and who may have secretly coveted Jimmy’s wife. Furthermore, Dolores, Jimmy’s mother who has never really cared for her daughter-in-law, is less than pleased in with the knowledge of Laura’s quick remarriage.

When an unsuspecting witness comes forward with new information, police arrest Laura for murder in the first degree. Readers can only hope that Laura, who protests her innocence, will be pardoned before her life is irrevocably destroyed forever and Jimmy’s real killer walks free.

Secret Admirer is one of MacDonald’s earlier and stronger suspense novels. The author sets up so many suspects from the beginning and with a few twists along the way, readers will be left guessing until the very end. MacDonald is a supberb suspense writer, and I wish that she could get the readership she deserves. Mary Higgins Clark fans should really give MacDonald a chance, as they won’t be disappointed!

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