- ISBN-10: 0451489306 Hardcover $25
- Publisher: Berkley (November 6, 2018), 320 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher.
Jessica Fletcher has had plenty to worry about over her storied career, both as a bestselling novelist and amateur sleuth. But she never had any reason to worry about her longtime publisher, Lane Barfield, who also happens to be a trusted friend. When mounting evidence of financial malfeasance leads to an FBI investigation of Lane, Jessica can't believe what she's reading.
So when Barfield turns up dead, Jessica takes on the task of proving Barfield's innocence--she can't fathom someone she's known and trusted for so long cheating her. Sure enough, Jessica's lone wolf investigation turns up several oddities and inconsistencies in Barfield's murder. Jessica knows something is being covered up, but what exactly? The trail she takes to answer that question reveals something far more nefarious afoot, involving shadowy characters from the heights of power in Washington. At the heart of Jessica's investigation lies a manuscript Barfield had intended to bring out after all other publishers had turned it down. The problem is that manuscript has disappeared, all traces of its submission and very existence having been wiped off the books.
With her own life now in jeopardy, Jessica refuses to back off and sets her sights on learning the contents of that manuscript and what about it may have led to several murders. Every step she takes brings her closer to the truth of what lies in the pages, as well as the person who penned them.
I'm very familiar with the TV show Murder, She Wrote but this was the first novel that I'd read. I admit that I've read quite a few of Jon Land's thrillers with Caitlin Strong, so I wanted to see how he collaborated with Jessica Fletcher and what sort of mystery they would face.
Manuscript for Murder starts off in New York City at a book reading in the famous Mysterious Book Shop. It almost feels like there are cameos of Otto Prenzler, Lee Child and David Morrell - certainly there are nods to places that readers and writers enjoy frequenting. But the drama comes with a fellow author, down on his luck, claiming that their mutual publisher has been stealing from them. And then the suspicious death of both the down-on-his luck author and the possibly dishonest publisher. As Jessica Fletcher is drawn to investigate, she finds herself encountering more suspicious deaths, clues, but also a trail that leads to the White House. Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land deliver an an unusual mix of cozy and thriller!
About the Authors:
Jessica Fletcher when writing) is a character and the protagonist portrayed by Award-winning actress Angela Lansbury on the American television series Murder, She Wrote. Fletcher is a best-selling author of mystery novels, an English teacher and congresswoman.
Jon Land is an American author of thriller novels. His books include the Caitlin Strong novels about a fifth-generation Texas ranger, and the Ben Kamal and Danielle Barnea books, about a Palestinian detective and chief inspector of the Israeli police.