Murder in Miniature by Margaret Grace
By Alan G. Scott
Camille Minichino's first work under the pen name Margaret Grace is a great adventure set in the sleepy hamlet of Lincoln Point, California, nestled near Mountain View and San Jose Airport. Geraldine Porter is a retired high school English teacher and, since widowed, has become immersed in her hobby of crafting miniature dollhouses.
During her granddaughter's summer visit, Gerry is selling her wares at a local craft faire when her high-maintenance best friend Linda skips out, leaving Gerry in the lurch and then calls at 2am needing to be picked up at an abandoned gas station just off Route 101. (I think I know where that is!)
The body of a woman is found at the exact spot where Gerry rescued Linda, and Gerry can't keep her nose out of her police nephew's business as she probes the mystery surrounding her best friend.
Minichino, as Grace, seems more at ease in writing about the world as miniature dollhouses or maybe crafts translate to the written word better than physics research. The pace of the book moves at a comfortable speed, and never bogs down or becomes overwhelming. The characters do not seem contrived or two-dimensional, rather believable and realistic.
There are frequent scenes where Grace shows subtle but hilarious comic wit, as Gerry Porter is appalled at the numerous errors in grammar and spelling in a city populated with people she taught. In one instance, Gerry is mortified more at her granddaughter's grammar than she is of her bluntness. Then she fights the urge to correct the spelling on a picketer's sign. Grace's Porter is very lovable as she has to adjust to her ten-going-on-thirty granddaughter, who's more tech savvy than Gerry will ever be.
This is a very enjoyable read and I liked the mystery very much, but I hope Dr. Camille does not abandon her Periodic Chart Mysteries. I am looking forward to The Fluorine Murder.