She wants the truth, but it may cost her more than she thinks…
An ex-patriot-American living in England, magazine reporter Casey Rowan wakes to find one best friend murdered and another seriously injured. Casey is determined to find the killer, despite running afoul of the detective in charge of the case—a blue-eyed Scot named Rod Carlisle, who considers her a prime suspect. As Casey gets closer to the truth, losing her heart to the sexy cop isn’t the only thing she risks. Now her life is danger, too.
He wants her, but he may have to choose between love and duty…
Rod has no patience with civilians who interfere in police matters, even hot little numbers like Casey. Though he tries to keep things professional, Casey’s beauty and spunk are hard to resist. He warns her that what she’s doing is dangerous, but he only succeeds in alienating her. She refuses to listen and goes off on her own with disastrous results. Now Rod’s in a race to find the killer before the woman he loves becomes the next victim.
Casey dressed with care, taking a few extra minutes to soften the shadows under her eyes from a restless night. She had no time to wrestle with her hair, so she pulled it back in a ponytail and chose a cream turtleneck sweater with brown pants and boots. Tightening the belt of her tweed wool coat tight around her waist, she felt a welcome kick of adrenaline.
It was still very cold outside. Strong winds whipped the clouds into great drifts across a violet blue backdrop. As she tied her scarf, her mind traveled back to the clear blue skies of the Florida Keys. It struck her again how carefree she’d been, wandering around barefoot, the sun beating down on her head and the raw, salty smell of bait emanating from the fishermen along the wharf.
First to arrive at the Richmond cafe, she chose a table overlooking the river and the diners at the tables on the foreshore. It always amused her how the English seemed determined to eat alfresco, despite the weather. The café was in a picturesque, late seventeenth-century Georgian building. In happier times, she’d enjoyed its ambiance, but today she felt unmoved. Some of the joy had gone from her life with Don’s death.
She saw Carlisle come through the door, pulling off his dark gray overcoat. More than one female head turned to follow him as he walked towards her.
“Miss Rowan.” He took a seat. “May I call you Casey?”
“Rod,” she repeated. “Are the police looking into the possibility that the murderer might be one of Tessa’s clients?”
“We haven’t discounted it.” He leaned back in the chair.
There came a pause she refused to fill.
He angled forward and placed his arms on the table. “Casey, I understand your impatience. The processes of the law can sometimes move slower than you might expect.”
“Meanwhile the killer is free to strike again? It doesn’t seem right.”
“Mrs. Broughton is safe for the moment.”
“What are the chances it was Tessa the killer was after?” She halted, the words drying up in her mouth. Even though she’d considered it, to say it made it real, and that was too hard to face.
“Too early to say,” he replied gently, reading the panic in her eyes.
She swallowed. “Have you uncovered any evidence at the cottage?”
He seemed to choose his words with care. “If we had, I probably wouldn’t tell you about it.” He ran his hand through his hair, and an errant lock fell onto his forehead. “Casey, we’d like to wrap this up quickly, too. But the police force is a bureaucracy like any other. Times change, and so do their methods. It’s just a myth that one scientist can do everything at a crime scene with instant results—they now farm forensics out to private laboratories. We have to get in a queue.”
She looked away from the lock of hair as if she’d seen something intimate. “I would have thought each police station had immediate access to one. Particularly in a murder case.”
“Most boroughs have a strict budget—with priorities.” Rod looked around. “Where’s the waitress?” He raised his arm to get her attention before turning back to Casey. “Any fibers and DNA we find must have something we can compare them with. And we must produce the right stuff in court so a lawyer can sell it to a jury. If we fail in this, the murderers will end up back on the street.
“Ah, here’s our coffee.” He smiled at the waitress. She tucked her hair behind her ears and a flush crept up her neck.
Casey mentally shook her head. Her first impression had been correct. A man like Rod was used to female attention. He just wasn’t her type. Too smart, too good-looking. The mix usually revealed arrogance at a point when it was too late to back away. He was taking time for her now, and she wondered why.
He enfolded his cup, apparently warming his hands. “We try to get digital evidence as soon as we can. Donald’s computer was of vital importance to our investigation, as is his mobile, and we can’t have you or anyone else blundering in and damaging evidence.”
“My private inquiries can’t hurt, if I’m careful. There are surely instances where the media has helped in an investigation.”
Rod rubbed his chin. “Journalists don’t always report evidence accurately.”
“I’m aware not everyone is good at their job,” she replied. “But I happen to be pretty good at mine. Can you tell me if any of these suspects have alibis?” She pulled out the list she’d made of Tessa’s clients and laid it on the table in front of him.
He gazed at her then turned the pages around to face him. “Christ, Casey Rowan!” He shook his head. “Do you think I’m going to give you, a person of interest, this information?”
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: Murder in Devon by Maggi Andersen is more than a standard murder mystery. Sure, there is all the suspense you’d expect when Casey Rowan, an American ex-patriot and reporter wakes in the country home of old college friends to find one murdered and the other barely alive. What’s more, Casey finds herself “a person of interest”—in more ways than one—of Detective Inspector Rod Carlisle, a man from whom any red-blooded woman would be more than happy to raise their arms and receive a personal pat down.
Determined to find her friend’s killer, Casey ignores warnings from the police and embarks on a mission that drags her into the shadowy and secret world of Nazi art theft, modern-day fascist politics and interviewing possible suspects including wife-beaters and criminals seeking revenge beyond the jail’s walls—all of this at no small threat to her safety. Of course, tracking her killer isn’t the only danger lurking for Casey. There is also the threat that once she allows a certain detective to breach her emotional defense’s, he won’t stop until he’s cuffed her to him good and proper. Yep, I enjoyed observing as Casey and Rod fought and scratched against each other, moved closer, then scratched again.
Andersen has crafted a sharp, twisting plot. Murder in Devon does not hand over its secrets easily, but drags you along and keeps you riveted until the last page. Her characters are real, filled with humor and pathos and you want so much for Casey to find the killer but also for her to achieve a sense of peace at the tragic loss of her friend. Maggie Andersen has a new fan and I can’t wait to read another of her novels. My rating: A standout 5 stars.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Murder in Devon by Maggi Andersen is a murder mystery as chilling as the wintry English countryside it is set in. When American ex-patriot, Casey Rowan wakes to find her best friend murdered and his wife barely clinging to life, she knows her life will never be the same. But she doesn’t know that soon her own life will be in danger. The sexy hunk of a detective, Rod Carlisle tries to warn her—once he stops thinking of her as his prime suspect—but Casey isn’t big on listening. She wants to know who murdered one friend and seriously wounded another while Casey slept upstairs. When the police don’t move fast enough to suit her, she decides to take matters into her own hands.
A reporter/editor working for a woman’s magazine in England, Casey is determined to find the killer, and her investigation leads her into the world of modern-day Neo-Nazis and the black market sale of art stolen by their predecessors during Hitler’s Third Reich. But killers and kidnappers aren’t the only thing Casey has to be careful of. Her growing attraction to Rod threatens to destroy the carefully constructed walls she has built around her heart.
Murder in Devon is a fast-paced, riveting tale of greed, politics, murder, and two people trying to find room for love while remaining on opposite sides of a police investigation. He has to operate within the law, and she is willing to break the law to get to the truth. This suspense-filled page-turner deprived me of sleep, supper, and my usual email-and-chat fix in the evenings. I simply couldn’t put it down. You’ll want to visit this one over and over again. I’m giving it 4.6 stars.