This is the third and newest book in Sally Wright's well-received "Ben Reese Mystery Series." The first two—Pride and Predator and Publish and Perish—drew rave reviews from the Washington Times, National Review, Publishers Weekly, and the redoubtable Ralph McInerny.
The new book's premise is intriguing. It's 1961. Elderly Scottish professor Georgina Fletcher leaves an Oxford pub with a tall, argumentative American. He puts something into her purse and stomps off. She reads it, goes back to her room, and writes a letter that she asks a friend to mail secretly should she, Georgina, die. The letter requests a private investigation into her death. The next day, Georgina dies at breakfast.
The letter is addressed to a young American, Ellen Winter, who takes it seriously. Ellen has the double good luck of being Georgina's heir and an apprentice to Dr. Ben Reese, the quiet, handsome, manly (I'm thinking Rod Taylor in Hotel), widowed archivist at Alderton University in Ohio. Reese, an amateur detective, just happens to be in Scotland. Ellen contacts him, and the two set about fulfilling Georgina's request.
Wright is thorough in her research and clearly familiar with Scotland. (The second book in this series is set there, too.) As Ben and Ellen engineer conversations with a large group of suspects, we learn a great deal...