Pattern of deaths targets rural Missourians in novel ‘Body of Evidence’
St. Louis’ own Irene Hannon adds to her bookshelf of five dozen or so novels with the aptly titled “Body of Evidence.”
The body in question gets examined by a forensic pathologist, Dr. Grace Reilly. Some odd evidence she finds in her stomach raises suspicion. She’d seen the same odd evidence in other deaths.
Even though the deaths involve elderly people living alone in rural Missouri, they seem to be linked by their strange stomach contents.
Reilly shares her suspicions with the new county sheriff, Nate Cox. The two also share an instant attraction for each other—something new for Reilly. As author Hannon notes on her opening page:
“There were better places for a thirty-year-old single woman to hang out at nine o’clock on Friday night than a funeral home in rural Missouri.
People are also reading…
“Unless you were a thirty-year-old single woman whose last hot date had been three months ago. A date that had cooled off fast after the guy asked about your day, and you’d told him in perhaps a tad too much detail while the two of you were chowing down on barbecue.”
But in the warm companionship of the new sheriff, Reilly digs into the mystery. The motive turns out to be a complicated scheme to fleece elderly people living alone.
Like the scheme, the plot runs towards complication. At the same time, it seems to run away from real-life probability. Even so, “Body of Evidence” will keep readers warm in the autumn chills.
Hannon shows a nice touch with her prose, even when her topic is murderous.
The sheriff muses that “he wasn’t going to rest until he did everything in his power to identify the person who was targeting gullible seniors in desperate need of extra income, then sucking them into a scheme that promised to solve all their monetary problems.
Again, here’s some musing from the sheriff:
“Striding back to his patrol car, he kept tabs on his surroundings as he dodged burnt-out remnants from the fireworks that had been set off by residents last night. Like the victims in the fraudulent investment scheme, the charred shells littering the street and sidewalk had perished in the night, leaving no trace behind the hand that had destroyed them.”
The publisher tags “Body of Evidence” as Volume 3 in a series titled “Triple Threat.” The word “triple” refers to the three Reilly sisters.
One named Cate is a police sergeant in St. Louis; Hannon’s fans of her read about her last year in “Labyrinth of Lies.” One named Eve is a radio talk show host in St. Louis; Hannon’s fans of her read about her de ella in “Point of Danger” in 2020.
But back to Grace, the forensic pathologist. Can she and the sheriff pin down the murderer? Of course—but Grace must first survive an attack on her own life.
And the murderer’s identity? Read “Body of Evidence” for the surprising answer.
Harry Levins of Manchester retired in 2007 as Senior Writer of the Post-Dispatch.