Perfidy is the first book in the Circle City Mystery series that includes four books to date, all centered around the city of Indianapolis and its police force.
Different members of the force are featured in each book in the series. That is always a treat, since we so often want to learn more about the different characters we’ve met.
Perfidy drew me in right from its mysterious beginning. When Mandy Stevenson’s mother goes missing, it’s different from previous times she has taken off for some time to herself. This time she didn’t even tell Mandy where she would be.
In her long-grieving family, a distance has developed between them, so even her father doesn’t believe she is missing. Mandy goes to her uncle, who is head of Missing Persons. That would be in the same office her father is the head of the Homicide Division. That is just beginning of the connections that are found in the story. So much overlaps in ways we don’t expect, causing drama and intrigue.
The family dynamic was well done, with the grief, tension, and anger after the death of their adult son, Mandy’s brother. That is what initially got my interest. Not the angst, but there seems so much to be discovered.
Mandy turns to her best friend, Alex, who is distracted and angry himself for some unknown reason. Everyone is acting differently than usual and no one will say why. There are more secrets to be revealed.
Then Alex is murdered.
The plot has you looking in many directions, all intriguing, solid possibilities. Lots of suspects come to light only to be put on hold when a new one shows up. You think you know where the story is headed, then another twist leads you off in a different direction. That brings more questions and more suspicions!
There is a private detective investigating, but what and why?
Brent Freeman, now a police detective, was best friend to Mandy’s brother. Mandy is drawn to him, but can she trust him?
The attorney husband of one suspect, representing another suspect? Is there a conflict if the two cases aren’t even connected?
The broker at the real estate office where Mandy’ mother works seems to be lying. His family has threatened the missing woman.
Aren’t their plenty of criminals the homicide detective has put away in the past? Didn’t they swear revenge?
Is It All Connected?
It’s a twisted story where the characters are each involved in their own little mystery. Everyone is up to something. Affairs, greed, embezzlement, blackmail? All possibilities, but do any of them relate to the disappearance of Mandy’s mother?
The directions the book went, and there were several to keep us entertained, made the mystery more complex. As a police procedural, we get to follow along with each step of the investigation. That investigation is constantly being invaded by Mandy and her determination to learn who killed Alex and to find her mother. Still, is there a time when you must give up hope that she is still alive?
The author handles the mystery smoothly. It did seems somewhat unrealistic to have a twenty-two year old girl get so far into the middle of the investigation, but perhaps her young age makes it more understandable.
I admit, it took a while for me to connect with several of the characters. I’m not sure if it was the dialogue or their personalities, but there was some awkwardness at first. Before long, the story was moving so quickly, it wasn’t a concern. It took concentration to keep track of all the suspicious behavior.
It is a well done mystery!
The author, Michele May, was kind enough to let us ask her some questions about her series and her style. Her lovely interview will be published soon.