Wednesday, July 29, 2020

ARC Review: An Accidental Corpse by Helen A. Harrison

An Accidental Corpse
Author: Helen Harrison
Series: Art of Murder Mysteries (Book 2)
Publication: Poisoned Pen Press (August 4, 2020)

Description: Accidents happen. But so does murder...

On the night of August 11, 1956, in a quiet East Hampton hamlet, Jackson Pollock crashed his car into a tree. The accident killed Pollock, the world-renowned abstract painter and notorious alcoholic, and his 25-year old passenger, Edith Metzger...or did it?

Metzger's autopsy reveals that she was already dead before the crash. Was it murder?

This shocking question draws vacationing Detective Juanita Diaz and her husband, Captain Brian Fitzgerald, of the NYPD into a homicide investigation that implicates famous members of East Hampton's art community―including Pollock himself.

My Thoughts: This historical mystery takes place in 1956 and combines real and fictional characters. It begins when two police officers and their 8-year-old son go on vacation to the shore. There they witness the fatal car accident that killed artist Jackson Pollack and one of his female passengers while throwing the other passenger out of the car.

Soon they learn that the female passenger was already dead when the accident happened. They are recruited by the local police chief to help with the investigation because his department is already stretched to the limits by a series of car accidents and the other problems that happen during the tourist season.

Fitz and Nita are glad to lend a helping hand and assist the local police. Nita is especially useful because she's a detective. There isn't another detective on the small town force.

I liked the way the story included historical details from the time period and information about local celebrities in the artistic community. I also liked that the story was told from a variety of viewpoints which added more detail.

As a mystery, it wasn't really all that mysterious. Once the villain appeared, it became quite clear what had happened and why. Before he appeared though, it was interesting to see what investigative techniques out heroes used and notice how many wouldn't be at all acceptable in a current police investigation.

Fans of historical mysteries and American artists would be a good audience for this story.

Favorite Quote:
"Hey, you guys, stop smooching!" TJ had caught them in the act. Startled, they sat up and looked momentarily embarrassed, then grinnd at their son as he scolded his father, using a phrase he'd learned from Grandma Blanca. "Que malo eres, Papa! Behave yourself!" Fitz pleaded innocent. "It's not my fault, buddy. Your mom threw herself at me, and I just couldn't resist."

Nita rose, straightened her dress, and tried to reclaim her dignity but failed. She pointed at her husband. "Pants on fire!" she exclaimed, and all three of them broke out laughing.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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