An Act of Murder
By: Mary Angela
Illustrated By: Sabrina Sun
Publisher: Camel Press
Publication Date: October 2016
One of the best aspects of the tiny college town of Copper Bluff, South Dakota, in Professor Emmeline Prather’s mind was that everything was consistent and quiet. Each semester began in the same way, her classes moved on steadily, and the semester would end the same way it had the year before. As another semester begins, Emmeline can’t hide the excitement she feels to meet a whole new group of students and discover each of their own personalities and talents. One student named Austin Oliver stood out in particular as he showed a determination to his education that Emmeline rarely saw, especially in a freshman.
In just a few days Austin became involved in many activities across campus including constructing sets for the upcoming play being put on by the Arts and English departments. However, Austin does not get a chance to help for long as following an afternoon of working at the theatre, he is found dead by the night janitor. Initially, everyone jumps to the conclusion that this was simply an unfortunate accident. However, Emmeline can’t help but feel that this death was a result of foul play. Why would anyone want to harm Austin – a young man who seemed to be a determined student and all around good guy? The police investigation turns this small college town upside down but even after all the searching, the cops still believe that Austin’s death was simply just a terrible and unfortunate accident.
Not satisfied with the conclusion of the investigation, Emmeline goes searching for answers, trying to find out exactly who were the last people to talk to Austin before he died. As the list of people with information grows, the list of questions also grows, as this case becomes more and more complicated. Suddenly, Emmeline realizes that she will need an ally, so she recruits fellow English professor Lenny Jenkins to help her think of other possible suspects and possible motives for the murder of this boy. At first Emmeline and Lenny are pushed on by the sheer curiosity of what really happened to Austin, but as they dig further someone takes a dislike to their snooping. One night the killer even decides to pay a nighttime visit to Emmeline’s house making her realize that even she is now in danger.
This was a fun, sweet, and impressive first mystery novel for author Mary Angela that I enjoyed immensely. In fact, once I started reading, I finished the book in record time. The wonderfully in-depth and detailed descriptions of the town, seasons, and college were absolutely wonderful. There were so many times I could almost feel the chill of the wind or picture the breeze in the trees against the brick of the old buildings and I love when authors can create that setting for their reader. Author Mary Angela does this beautifully and with the mystery element added to this quaint little town I found myself enjoying every part of this story.
Quill says: A wonderful first mystery novel that has me wanting to read more.