reviewed by Pam Guynn
David Housewright brings readers a locked room mystery in the latest book in the Mac McKenzie series. In Something Wicked, Rushmore McKenzie agrees to help a friend of his wife’s by investigating a death at a castle turned hotel and a family fighting over the inheritance.
Rushmore McKenzie was a detective with the St. Paul, Minnesota police department until events made him a millionaire and he retired. However, he continues to take on unofficial private investigations for family, friends, and others. After nearly being killed, he’s retired again and bored when his wife, Nina Truhler, owner of Rickie’s, a restaurant and jazz club, convinces him to go to Redding, Minnesota on a vacation. However, the real reason is that Jennes Crawford believes her grandmother was murdered and the siblings who inherited Redding Castle, a hotel and resort, are going to sell it to a developer. Jennes believes someone in the family killed their mother.
McKenzie exudes wit, charm, and the occasional sarcastic remark while investigating crimes. Nina is smart, intelligent, and willing to help friends in need. She uses her business experience to give Jennes ideas on how to increase her revenue streams for the castle. McKenzie and Nina are a relatable couple who pull readers into their lives. Beside McKenzie’s relationship with his wife, his dynamic with Redding Police Chief Deidre (Dee) Gardner was one of the most compelling aspects of the story.
The author weaves a tale involving friends, family, romance, action, death, racism, inheritance, social justice, and divisiveness that pulls readers in and keeps one hooked from beginning to end. Relationships drive the investigation. Diverse characterization and great world-building details add to the depth of the story. Even the effects of the recent pandemic on peoples’ views and actions play a role in the narrative.
The writing flows so well the pages flew by. The plot is solid, absorbing, and intriguing and the historical references added a layer of interest to it. The ending has some surprises that will likely surprise some readers. The last chapter tied up most of the loose ends, but was all telling versus showing. My other quibble was that one of the key loose ends isn’t resolved.
Overall, this engaging novel unleashes wit, suspense, romance, and mystery that make it a twisty read that keeps readers hooked. If you enjoy mysteries, then I recommend that you check out this one. I am looking forward to finding out what happens in McKenzie’s next investigation. This novel works as a standalone novel, but readers will get more background if they start with book one.
St. Martin’s Press – Minotaur Books and David Housewright provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for May 24, 2022.