Mystery Debut of the Month | October 1, 2012

starred review starJenkins, Victoria. An Unattended Death. Permanent. Oct. 2012. c.264p. ISBN 9781579622848. $28. M

Police detective Irene Chavez ponders the unexplained death of Anne Paris, a beautiful young psychiatrist whose body was found on the grounds of her family’s summer home. Irene, a local girl now widowed and the mother of a 14-year-old son, has returned home to a small town in Washington’s Puget Sound region after a stint with the LAPD. She finds the reactions of the victim’s wealthy family—they want only privacy—perplexing. Circling through Anne’s family, neighbors, and all the possible suspects who may have had it in for her, Irene uncovers numerous secrets and potential motives, but not enough to point to any one individual. It’s not until Irene heads for Boston to see Anne’s real workday world that the case blows wide open. VERDICT Jenkins’s series debut holds the reader captive from the first paragraph. Her strong sense of place coupled with the plot’s palpable psychological tension makes her police procedural especially arresting. Partner this with Every Last Secret by fellow newcomer Linda Rodriguez and also with works by veteran author Jonnie Jacobs for characters and tone.