by Wendy Hornsby
Who killed Park Holloway, president of Anacapa Community College? Maggie MacGowan, investigative filmmaker on a short-term contract teaching film production is on the case. And she has plenty of suspects: The art student whose award winning project Holloway wanted scuttled? The college’s fund raising chairperson who discovered Holloway’s illegal financial shenanigans? The interim vice president of the college? A donor who was duped by Holloway? While Maggie deals with a new love in her life and seeking background information for one of her students, she steps closer each day to exposing the killer. Will her final film project end in her death?
A nice standard mystery with a few subplots for filler. Hornsby presents a well rounded mystery with the usual action and suspect cast.
Margot ‘Maggie’ Eugenia Duchamps MacGowan: 40+, investigative filmmaker on a short-term contract to teach film production at Anacapa Community College, has a nineteen year old daughter, has a stepson, father was a professor of physics, attended Berkley after convent school, widow for almost a year, afraid of thunder/lightning, dating, has an aging mother, has a dog and three horses, has a sister, brother dead, has had comsmetic surgery on her nose
Ronald ‘Sly’ Miller: 19, sculpture, brown hair and eyes, wolf-like face, was in foster care or on the streets since a baby
Max Duchamps: Maggie’s uncle, dark featured, round stature, lawyer
Lew Kaufman: chair of the Anacapa C.C. Art Department, Sly’s mentor, 6’5”, thin, near 50, stoop-shouldered, nearly bald
Kate Tejeda: Maggie’s friend and former roommate in school and college, History Professor at Anacapa C.C., chair of the Academic Senate, husband is Anacapa’s chief of police, wealthy
Joan Givens: director of Anacapa C.C. Foundation, tall and slender, just past fifty, single, pretty
Tom Juarequi: round frame, has a mustaches and wears a bad toupee, chairs the college Board of Trustees
There are a lot of characters in this one with plenty of good background information. Especially regarding Maggie. This is well done so that new readers won’t be lost in questions about where Maggie has been in past stories.
I think the voices were fairly distinctive. Conversations stayed on point and more often than not ended up veering back to the mystery.
First person from Maggie’s POV. Some profanity. Varying lengths of chapters. Even though the subplot made, as I said for a well rounded story, I would have enjoyed a bit more focus on the main mystery. Hornsby presents a good day in the life of Maggie with her responsibilities toward her mother and her horses and students. There’s always an open door to keep Maggie from staying in one place too long. Action is subtle, tension stays medium low.