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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
Ginger Barnes is a retired suburban widow who seems to fall into mysteries in For Better or Worse, a Ginger Barnes Main Line Mystery by Donna Huston Murray. After three years of living without her husband, Ginger is ready to embrace life again and gets more than she bargains for just by offering to help her newlywed daughter make repairs in her new home. While working at the new home, Ginger meets several of the neighbors, each of whom seems to have some kind of issue. The more Ginger gets involved, the more she learns and the more problematic these neighbors become.
On top of the neighborhood dramas, Ginger agrees to babysit for the daughter of a man introduced to her by her best friend, Didi. With her suspicious nature, Ginger quickly feels that there is something strange going on in this young family. Ginger loves the little boy, who thrives on the love and mental stimulation she provides, so she is determined to figure out what is going on. With so many strange dynamics occurring, Ginger doesn’t know who to look out for when it seems that she is being followed. Has her interest in helping others brought trouble into her own life?
Great story! Ginger is a very likable, sympathetic character in a clearly described setting (it may help that I live in South Jersey and my daughter lives in Roxboro – I’ve seen it all!). Combining the mystery with a realistic domestic abuse story line is powerful and I hope helpful to some readers. Donna Huston Murray writes clearly and engagingly as she moves Ginger through the complexities of her everyday life. Plenty of local color brings the setting alive and the characters, while typical, are still unique in their own ways. Ginger is a great heroine – low key yet active and full of her own questions and principles. For Better or Worse, the eighth Ginger Barnes Main Line Mystery, is a delightful story, intriguing with clever twists and turns and just the right intensity for a pleasant summer time or by the fire read.