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Mystery Review     


Old Murders
By Frankie Y. Bailey
A Silver Dagger Mystery, 2003
202 pages
Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 1-57072-217-X
Paper, $13.95, ISBN: 1-570720-218-8

Dr. Frankie Bailey, author of Death's Favorite Child and A Dead Man's Honor, is back with the third installment in her Lizzie Stuart mysteries, Old Murders.

Lizzie doesn't go out looking for trouble, but, as her beau John Quinn likes to remind her, trouble finds her anyway. As a visiting professor of Criminal Justice at Piedmont State University in Gallagher, Virginia, she still needs to watch her "ps & qs" to fit into the community. 

Lizzie and Quinn, who met in the previous novel A Dead Man's Honor, are still learning how to balance high profile, stressful professional lives within the context of being a couple. While Quinn is out of town taking care of a hospitalized family member, the folk art heart he gave Lizzie for  Valentine's Day cracks during an earthquake. Only superstitious when "she's not" to quote her grandmother, Lizzie sets out to get her cracked heart mended. Her seemingly simple mission brings her in contact with the underside of small town life. 

One would think preparing for her first half-marathon for diabetes research (the disease that took her beloved grandmother Hester Rose); babysitting Quinn's dog George; teaching fulltime and directing graduate students; and running a house would take all of Lizzie's time, but somehow, she manages to get involved in a real estate battle between a Harvard educated, smooth-talking, Yankee carpetbagger, and the oldest, wealthiest family in town. 

Lizzie's presence and curiosity bring all the factions in Gallagher together, uncovering several dirty secrets. 

Dr. Frankie Bailey uses her own background as a criminal justice professor at the State University of New York at Albany to give the book texture and credibility. Originally from Danville, Virginia, she uses the folklore, superstitions, and landscapes of her childhood in fiction. 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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