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Reviews

Carol MacLeod - This story line is really tight, unique and original...a fantastic read.

Scott Olson - The ending took me by surprise.

Midwest Book Review

Peggy Swager is a non-fiction author and long time member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers; the Pikes Peak Writer; and the SouthWest Writers. She is now writing and publishing fiction books.

Kate Summers took a job as a cop in Columbine, Colorado. Divorced and leery of men, she soon finds that a new neighbor has bought a house across the street. He happens to be a lawyer, and when her high school aged babysitter's foster mother suddenly dies of unexplained causes, his abilities are a new source of help. For Kate must interview people she has grown to care for in the community and dredge up past conflicts and hurts to figure out who killed a bitter old woman who delighted in causing others pain:

"'No, not Ethel.' Geri's words turned bitter. 'Never anything physical. Ethel twisted the law and used her money to do her dirty work.' Geri scowled. 'Ethel had a big problem with her brother. You see, Ed never missed having the money she enjoyed, and he never resented her for hogging it all, not even for a moment. Ethel may have stormed around and screamed at Ed, but she didn't have any power over him anymore. Did you know he started drinking after we broke up the first time?'"

Swager's plots are somewhat linear, in that Kate Summers is trying to find out who offed a horrible old woman who loved to use her money to hurt people. But where Swager excels is in the motive department. Nothing corrupts like money, and it is up to Kate to examine the underlying impulses of people she sees on an everyday basis. Therein lies the rub for Kate, and the resulting conflict as she works her way to a painful conclusion dredges up the past for her. Her father was also a cop, and when upsetting things happened to him, Kate lost the closeness she enjoyed as his daughter. Her children won't suffer the same fate.

MURDER WAS A STRANGER is a good old fashioned whodunit with clean lines. The murder isn't too bloody; Kate doesn't get beaten to a bloody pulp; and the bad guys aren't running around causing unbearable havoc. As to who did it...that is for the reader to figure out.

Shelley Glodowski
Senior Reviewer

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