Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Winter Widow by Charlene Weir

Title: The Winter Widow
Author: Charlene Weir
ISBN: 0373261284, Worldwide Mystery, 1993
Genre: Police Procedural, #1 Susan Wren mystery
Rating: D
Source: Paperback Swap

First Line: Definite disadvantages to being chief of police, Dan Wren thought as he headed the pickup along the graveled, hilly road past tree-dotted fields with barbed wire fences.

Thirtysomething San Francisco police officer Susan Donovan meets the man of her dreams at a conference. Within six weeks, she's married, she's moved to northeastern Kansas with her police chief husband, Dan Wren... and she's a widow. Susan gets herself appointed temporary chief of police and vows to find her husband's killer. When another person dies, the mayor wants her gone, but Susan manages to get a five-day reprieve. Will she find the killer before time runs out?

Mysteries set in Kansas are not common, and Weir skillfully guides us through a Great Plains winter, the vagaries of the multi-million-dollar bull sperm business, and a search for a toxic waste dump. All that was interesting and the pace moved right along. What didn't work for me was the main character. It wasn't until the end of the book that I ever felt that Susan had been a police officer on the San Francisco police force. She didn't use her brain; she let her rage and grief take command and lead her into numerous dangerous situations. I tried to take it easy on her, allowing her time to grieve, but sooner or later when a character keeps behaving like the blonde bimbo in a slasher movie, I'm going to hold the basement door open for her the next time there's a weird noise down there.

To sum it up: fine setting, good pace, and the murderer was not easy to spot; however, the main character got on my last nerve. Toto, I took the first plane out of Kansas.


  1. Very funny review, Cathy. Love your sense of humor.

  2. Barbara-- Thanks. I always scringe when I post an unfavorable review, though. Regardless how much I did or did not like a book, the author still worked hard on it. So many things worked in this book, it's a shame that the main character and I got along like chalk and cheese.

  3. OK, Dorothy (Cathy), you made me laugh. LOL

    I think I told you that I had read this book and I looked back at my list of reads - it was in August of 1994. I remember it very, very vaguely. I did see that I read it quickly and then read the next in the series, CONSIDER THE CROWS. Guess I liked it well enough to pick up the next. :-)

    You don't have to go back to Kansas. You can stay in Oz.

  4. A pity it wasn´t better. I like the idea and the cover.

    I can see that I have been working far too much recently as I have ´fallen out´ of your commenter gadget. I´ll be back :D

  5. Kay-- I'm glad I can stay in Oz. ;)

    Dorte-- That's good to hear. You've been working too hard, and I miss you!


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