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Death and the Joyful Woman, Ellis Peters, Mysterious Press, 1961, 196 pp
This mystery is the sequel to Fallen Into the Pit, which I read a few weeks ago as the first in the series. Death and the Joyful Woman won the Edgar Award in 1963. The title gave me a certain mental picture of a gleeful female murderer, but in fact The Joyful Woman is the name of a pub in the Welsh town where Inspector George Felse lives and solves crimes.
Either because I was now familiar with the scene or because Ms Peters got better at writing mystery (probably both) I enjoyed this one more than Fallen Into the Pit.
Inspector Felse is still the Inspector for the local police department and his son Dominic still runs around doing his own detecting, mostly behind his father's back. (I wonder if the entire series of 13 books will continue with that arrangement.) Thus Dominic is the one who discovers the murderer of the unpopular millionaire in town who owned The Joyful Woman.
The boy is now 14 years old and has developed a private crush on a 20-something beautiful woman. When she is charged with the murder, Dominic does not rest and in fact puts himself into extreme danger while following his hunches.
I was impressed by the way the author handled the dynamics of families in the story and the mystery was just convoluted enough to keep me guessing. I was waiting to read this one before deciding if I would continue with the series. I must thank the Mystery Writers of America organization for their long running award, named after Edgar Allen Poe of course, and for introducing me to a mystery writer worth following. I have decided that Dominic Felse is a lot like the reckless, daring side of V I Warshaswki in Sara Paretsky's series. After just two books, I am hooked.
(Death and the Joyful Woman is available in paperback but hard to get in that format. It is also available as an eBook from Open Road Media.)