I have read every one of the novels in this series, and was excited to read this one, the 20th anniversary novel. The mystery in this novel focuses on the automobile business. All of the victims worked at the same repair shop. We also learn of a new insurance company dominating the market, and we take in some local drag racing. But what are the connections, and who would want the mechanics dead?
This plot gave “Harry” Hairsteen a chance to show her knowledge as a gearhead, which has been hinted at in prior novels in the series. This is a strength of this particular book – there are times in long series where a character expresses an interest in the 20th book that ties neatly into the plot, that had never been mentioned in the prior 19 novels, and never gets mentioned again! But here, Brown picks up on a trait that has been part of Harry’s character over the life of the series, and builds a very solid mystery around that trait.
No spoilers, but the mystery makes sense in the context given, and the drama in discovering the murderer is exciting. The character moments make sense, although nothing earth-shaking occurs. Over the life of the series, there have been logical life changes, job changes, and relationship changes.
Some series lose steam as they march along, but Brown (and Brown) have been able to maintain a relatively high level over the life of this series, and I look forward to continue reading books in this series.