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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
A mother will go to almost any lengths to support a child and that is exactly what Wawetseka does in 1817 in The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods by Pat Camalliere. Similarly, in the present day, Cora Cozzi stops at nothing to uncover the mystery plaguing her writing group as they delve into Wawetseka’s story in order to publish her memoir.
Cleverly divided into three sections telling a parallel story, The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods begins in the present with Nick, a descendant of Wawetseka, presenting a proposition to history buff and amateur sleuth, Cora. Nick wants to turn the family heirloom, Wawetseka’s written memoir, into a work to be published. Cora agrees and enlists the help of her friend, Frannie, and the challenge begins. As Nick, Cora and Frannie get started, the focus changes to the actual story Wawetseka tells in her memoir. Knowing that her son did not kill the man found in the river near their village, Wawetseka uncovers clues and tracks down numerous leads, in spite of tremendous obstacles to finding out who really committed the crime and bringing him to justice. Part three of the story involves the present day and someone’s attempt to prevent the book from becoming published. The crew races against time and the threats of a madman to determine why their work has caused such a reaction.
With clear, straightforward writing and superb storytelling that utilizes tremendous depth of the characters as well as historical fact and geographical detail, Pat Camalliere offers two excellent stories wrapped into one in The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods. Although Volume 2 of the Cora Tozzi Historical Mystery Series, this book stands alone perfectly – but makes you want to rush back to the book store for Volume 1 just because it is so good! The history is riveting, the references to Native American culture and superstition add authenticity and interest, and Camalliere’s insights into human nature and psychology really round out both parts of the story. This is, without a doubt, a must-read for any mystery reader, historical or contemporary. This is truly a wonderful story, well told and definitely worth the time to read and enjoy!