Short Line to Death is a fast-paced, engaging well plotted murder mystery, with interesting characters, and a healthy dose of humor. Fans of traditional detective mysteries and more offbeat mysteries should find it an enjoyable book.
Madeline Williams firmly believes that her move to the small village of Cross Keys, Pennsylvania, seventy miles from her previous life in New York City, will be temporary. To be apart from her cheating husband during the divorce process, she has moved to a large Victorian house she recently inherited. When her divorce is final she plans to return to the more interesting and exciting city. The move has required her to commute daily to work in Manhattan on a bus with an unruly and odd collection of individuals, known as the regulars.
The Village of Cross Keys is a peaceful bucolic community, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Pocono Mountains. However, its peacefulness has been disrupted by the recent murder of a local drug dealer and bookie. The homegrown police chief, Billy West, is running in circles as he works to solve the mystery. The Chief has not had a difficult homicide to solve since he moved from Philadelphia five years previously.
Madeline's social life is limited but she finds a local bar, The Opossum, that has been in business in the same building since the 1800's. Eating alone at the bar on many Saturday nights she has become acquainted with Tom Firemark, the handsome bar owner, Billy's life long friend, and a former private investigator. Even though she believes she has become used to unpleasant surprises, she is completely unprepared to witness a murder on the bus and to become an amateur sleuth involved with Tom in solving the crime.
Filled with twists and turns Short Line to Death is an entertaining page turner with a strong female protagonist. Madeline is a relatable character as we follow her through a difficult and lonely time until she finds her footing and adjusts to her new single life in a small town. Her roller coaster emotional journey includes a crush on Tom and the dream of future happiness with a new romance. But first there is a murder to sovle.
What of interest could possibly happen in a small town in Pennsylvania and on a commuter bus? Plenty as it turns out.