Murder She Wrote – Manuscript for Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
Most of you know that Murder She Wrote used to be a TV series with Angela Lansbury playing Mrs. Fletcher. For a long time, Donald Bain wrote the books with the fictitious Jessica Fletcher as a co-author. With the passing of Bain, Jon Land has assumed the authorship of the series. Like all things, it’s sometimes hard to accept changes. As I was reading the story, I can feel the difference. Yes, I can still picture Lansbury in the action, but something is not the same. I suppose it takes some getting used to.
Jessica Fletcher has had plenty to worry about over her storied career, both as a bestselling novelist and amateur sleuth. But she never had any reason to worry about her longtime publisher, Lane Barfield, who also happens to be a trusted friend. When mounting evidence of financial malfeasance leads to an FBI investigation of Lane, Jessica can’t believe what she’s reading.
So when Barfield turns up dead, Jessica takes on the task of proving Barfield’s innocence–she can’t fathom someone she’s known and trusted for so long cheating her. Sure enough, Jessica’s lone wolf investigation turns up several oddities and inconsistencies in Barfield’s murder. Jessica knows something is being covered up, but what exactly? The trail she takes to answer that question reveals something far more nefarious afoot, involving shadowy characters from the heights of power in Washington. At the heart of Jessica’s investigation lies a manuscript Barfield had intended to bring out after all other publishers had turned it down. The problem is that manuscript has disappeared, all traces of its submission and very existence having been wiped off the books.
With her own life now in jeopardy, Jessica refuses to back off and sets her sights on learning the contents of that manuscript and what about it may have led to several murders. Every step she takes brings her closer to the truth of what lies in the pages, as well as the person who penned them.
It’s an easy and fast read. Although the plot takes you to the White House and it involves multiple bodies, it is a very cozy mystery. Like author Mary Higgins Clark’s novels (here).
The character Jessica seems to be more daring in this story. There’s a lot of excitement and it keeps you turning the pages. At times, it’s like I’m reading a political thriller. Again, maybe I just need to get used to the new author’s style.
One thing though: if memory serves, Jessica doesn’t drive, but she has a pilot license. I don’t know what a helicopter ride feels like. Maybe it is so rough that will make a pilot sick?! Just a little something I noticed.
All in all, it’s a good one.