With a deadly wildfire spreading through the Silicon Valley of California, Max and Maggie McDonald evacuate their family and pets to their friends' house. When firefighters discover the body of Maggie's best friend Tess Olmos' husband, Tess becomes the prime suspect, and Maggie knows that her friend will need all the help the McDonalds can give her.
I've been a fan of Mary Feliz's Maggie McDonald series from the start (Address to Die For), and the author just keeps on giving me reasons to enjoy her books. We don't see much of her organizing skills on jobs, but we see her put her own advice into practice, and each chapter heading is one of her tips. In Disorderly Conduct, they are very timely indeed since they are all aimed at preparing for emergencies and natural disasters. (These are all common sense tips and worth a read even if you think you've got all your bases covered.)
This series is firmly grounded in its setting. It's no secret that California has been suffering from drought, so we see Maggie and her family pitching in at the school to put in drought-tolerant landscaping. There's also information for anyone who lives near public lands-- as in, what some criminals can be using the land for.
Two small things annoyed me with the mystery in Disorderly Conduct: a couple of clues were a bit too transparent and made it easy for me to deduce the killer's identity, and-- the biggie-- Maggie's friend Tess says the one line no character should say in a mystery: "I'll kill that man!" Any cozy reader worth their salt knows that the second those words are uttered, that character is going to be thrown in jail. Every time I see that line of dialogue, I have two reactions. One, a major eye roll. Two, I thank my lucky stars that I'm not a member of a family who goes around threatening to kill each other.
But those annoyances are small. What I really love about revisiting Maggie is just spending some time with Super Mom. Maggie has an excellent support system, and it's because she spends just as much time supporting her friends. When it looks as though the newly widowed Tess is going to jail, Maggie immediately works with her to put legal paperwork in place to take care of Tess's grieving son if the worst should happen.
These regular characters all have very real emotions and reactions, but none of them really go off the rails. It would appear that they're all just too good to be true, and I imagine that they are, but you know what? I don't care. It is so refreshing to read about intelligent people who've raised their children properly-- and everyone uses their common sense! I remember an old television commercial when I think of Mary Feliz's series. I consider these to be my "Calgon, take me away" books. They are a pleasure to read. If the world gets to be too much for you, you'll probably enjoy them, too.
Disorderly Conduct by Mary Feliz
Lyrical Press © 2018
eBook, 233 pages
Cozy Mystery, #4 Maggie McDonald mystery
Source: Net Galley