RogerBW's Blog

A Merciful Secret, Kendra Elliot 06 July 2021

2018 romantic mystery, third in the Mercy Kilpatrick series. One snowy night, Mercy nearly runs over a child seeking help for her dying grandmother. Who, it becomes clear, has been murdered.

This series seems to be getting into its stride. The first book had a lot of setup to do with Mercy's background and prepper habits; the second one seemed largely to forget about them except as background detail. But here the survivalist ethos engages with the plot and makes this a Mercy Kilpatrick story rather than a "generic FBI agent in a small town" story, without taking over completely and making it a "generic prepper" story.

There's also quite a bit about the way the town puts up with the local witch (as long as she can supply love potions and relationship advice) but doesn't like her, and a very slight edge into supernaturalism clearly downplayed to keep the mainstream detective reader on board.

None of that's actually the primary plot, since it seems that that grandmother and a retired judge were killed in the same way just a few days apart. What do they have in common, and why kill them now? Standard mystery story rules say that it must be someone we know about, and that's quite a small set of people, but this part's still an enjoyable backbone on which the other material, including progression of the book-to-book development of Mercy's personal life, can be hung.

For me, the best of the series so far, though book one's setup would certainly be helpful in working out who's who.

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Previous in series: A Merciful Truth | Series: Mercy Kilpatrick | Next in series: A Merciful Silence

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