Gone with the Win by Mary Daheim

A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery
William Morrow
Pub date: 7/9/2013

Seattle innkeeper Judith McMonigle Flynn has decided to hang up her magnifying glass and retire from amateur sleuthing. Unfortunately, however, nobody told that to Ruby Tooms, who booked a room at Judith’s B&B with the sole purpose of convincing the proprietress to help solve her mother’s murder. Opal Tooms was strangled 15 years ago, but the killer was never caught and Ruby’s desperate for both justice and closure. Judith’s fully prepared to refuse her guest’s request, but as it turns out, not only was Ruby’s mother killed in Judith’s old neighborhood, but her husband’s former partner was the investigating officer in charge of the case. Can Judith and her partners in crime-solving work their magic one last time, or will the final case of Judith’s “career” mark the end of her life, as well?

If you’re yearning for a yarn that’s chock full of complex clues, viable suspects, and expertly placed red herrings, you’d do well to focus your search elsewhere – Gone With the Win (the 28th installment in author Mary Daheim’s Bed-and-Breakfast Series) is really more farce than fair-play mystery. If you rather fancy the notion of a less sexy Noises Off, though (now with dead bodies!), then I recommend you give this book a go. Daheim’s dialogue is witty, her pacing is quick, and her characters are both insanely entertaining and entertainingly insane. (Judith’s peevish mother Gertrude, her quixotic cousin Renie, and her melodramatic, Satan-obsessed cleaning woman Phyllis are worth the price of admission all on their own.) The story may meander a bit but the plot is solid, and if the whodunit portion of the tale doesn’t captivate you, Daheim’s over-the-top brand of humor likely will. And lest you be daunted by the fact that more than two dozen books precede this one, have no fear – Daheim does a marvelous job of establishing characters, setting, and circumstance; even if you’ve never read another of Judith’s adventures, it’ll only be a matter of pages before you feel right at home in Daheim’s madcap fictional world.

Katrina Niidas Holm