Guilty or Not, Alice Zogg, Aventine Press, 2013, 222 pp
Full disclosure: Alice Zogg has been a friend of mine for almost a decade. We have been in a writers group together and a reading group. During that time she has written and self-published a mystery novel every year. I have read all but the first one and reviewed most of them here on Keep The Wisdom.
Guilty or Not is the ninth mystery in her R A Huber series. I had not been a mystery reader before I met Alice but because of her I now read mysteries regularly, becoming ever more familiar with the genre. Meanwhile Alice, who taught herself to write mysteries just because she wanted to, has been honing her craft. The new one is her best yet.
R A Huber, first name Regula, is a retired woman who reinvented herself as a private investigator. This time she has been hired by a young man to find a murderer. Jonathan's friend Rachel, about to stand trial for the murder of her fiance, is innocent in his eyes.
In a race for time, Huber must sort through the family secrets of the dead man, a fellow who was highly successful in business but incapable of being faithful to one woman. Rachel, whose heart is broken, is strangely passive about the whole thing.
From Italian restaurants to a luxury home in Pasadena, CA; from a CEO's boardroom to an Alaskan cruise ship, R A Huber tracks the real culprit, using her superior intellect to sort through the evidence. As usual, she forgets to protect her own safety.
In a dramatic eleventh hour courtroom scene, she manages to save Rachel from life without parole and live to solve another crime.
But the biggest surprise of all to me is the news from Alice. She has told me that this may be the last of her R A Huber series because she has plans for a whole new direction in her next book. Having watched and read her for so long, I am confident I will be reviewing that next one in about a year.
(Guilty or Not is available in hardcover and paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)